Sexually antagonistic co-evolution: a model and an empirical test



Hoyle A & Gilburn A (2010) Sexually antagonistic co-evolution: a model and an empirical test. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 23 (1), pp. 166-174.

Models reveal that sexually antagonistic co-evolution exaggerates female resistance and male persistence traits. Here we adapt an established model by including directional sexual selection acting against persistence. We find similar equilibria to previous models showing that sexually antagonistic co-evolution can be limited by counteracting sexual, as well as, natural selection. We tested the model using empirical data for the seaweed fly, Coelopa ursina, in which body size acts as a persistence and a resistance trait. Our model can generate continuous co-evolutionary cycles and stable equilibria, however, all simulations using empirically derived parameter estimates reach stable equilibria. Thus, stable equilibria might be more common in nature than continuous co-evolutionary cycles, suggesting that sexual conflict is unlikely to promote speciation. The model predicts male biased sexual size dimorphism for C. ursina, comparable with empirically observed values. Male persistence is shown to be more sensitive than female resistance to changes in model parameters.

Coelopa ursine; coelopidae; persistence trait; pre-mating struggle; resistance trait; seaweed fly; sexual conflict; sexual size dimorphism

Journal of Evolutionary Biology: Volume 23, Issue 1

Publication date31/01/2010

People (2)


Dr Andre Gilburn

Dr Andre Gilburn

Senior Lecturer, Biological and Environmental Sciences

Dr Andrew Hoyle

Dr Andrew Hoyle

Senior Lecturer, Mathematics