Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 167–198 | Cite as

Speciation and Sexual Conflict

  • Sergey Gavrilets
  • Takehiko I. Hayashi
Evolutionary Perspective


We review mathematical models that explicitly consider the dynamics of evolutionary change driven by sexual conflict over mating rate when males are selected for increasing mating success whereas females are selected to restrict mating rate. These models focus on a pair of traits each of which is controlled by a separate set of genes expressed in one sex only. The traits control the probability of mating and/or fertilization. Overall, there are at least six different dynamic regimes observed in models of sexual conflict: (1) continuous coevolutionary chase between the sexes (which can result in allopatric speciation as a byproduct), (2) evolution towards an equilibrium, (3) cyclic evolution, (4) evolution towards a line of equilibria with subsequent random drift along this line, (5) Buridan’s Ass regime involving extensive diversification in female alleles without comparable diversification in male alleles, and (6) extensive diversification in both male and female alleles (which can result in sympatric speciation). Mathematical models also show that different dynamic regimes can be observed with the same set of parameter values but under different initial conditions. It is also possible that the same population switches from one regime to another as a result of stochastic perturbations due to, say, random genetic drift. Moreover, different sets of loci controlling mating and fertilization in the same species can follow different dynamic regimes. We attempt to make some generalizations and identify important directions for theoretical and empirical work.


evolutionary dynamics mathematical models sexual conflict speciation v1646 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abrams, P.A., Harada, Y., Matsuda, H. 1993On the relationship between quantitative genetic and ESS modelsEvolution47982985Google Scholar
  2. Aguade, M., Miyashita, N., Langley, C.H. 1992Polymorphism and divergence of the mst 355 male accessory gland regionGenetics132755770PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Alonzo, S.H., Warner, R.R. 2000Dynamic games and field experiments examining intra- and intersexual conflict: explaining counterintuitive mating behavior in a Mediterranean wrasse, Symphodus ocellatusBehav. Ecol115670CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andersson, M.B. 1994Sexual SelectionPrinceton University PressPrincetonGoogle Scholar
  5. Andres, J.A., Morrow, E.H. 2003The origin of interlocus sexual conflict: is sex-linkage important?J. Evol. Biol16219223CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Arnold, M.L., Hamrick, J.L., Bennett, B.D. 1993Interspecific pollen competition and reproductive isolation in IrisJ. Hered841316Google Scholar
  7. Arnqvist, G., Nilsson, T. 2000The evolution of polyandry: multiple mating and female fitness in insectsAnimal Behav60145164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Arnqvist, G., Rowe, L. 2002Antagonistic coevolution between the sexes in a group of insectsNature415787789PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Arnqvist, G., Edvardsson, M., Friberg, U., Nilsson, T. 2000Sexual conflict promotes speciation in insectsProc. Nat. Acad. of Sci. USA971046010464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ball, M.A., Parker, G.A. 2003Sperm competition games: sperm selection by femalesJ. Theor. Biol2242742CrossRefPubMedMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  11. Barraclough, T.G., Harvey, P.H., Nee, S. 1995Sexual selection and taxonomic diversity in passerine birdsProc. Royal Soc. Lond. B259211215Google Scholar
  12. Barta, Z.N., Houston, A.I., McNamara, J.M., Szekely, T. 2002Sexual conflict about parental care: The role of reservesAm. Nat159687705CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bartolomei, M.S., Tilghman, S.M. 1997Genomic imprinting in mammalsAnn. Rev. Genet31493525CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Bateman, A.J. 1948Intrasexual selection in DrosophilaHeredity2349368Google Scholar
  15. Bro, A. 1995The Oxford Companion to PhilosophyOxford University PressOxfordGoogle Scholar
  16. Bürger, R. 2000The Mathematical Theory of Selection, Recombination, and MutationWileyChichesterGoogle Scholar
  17. Butlin, R. 1987Speciation by reinforcementTrends Ecol. Evol2813CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Chapman, T., Arnqvist, G., Bangham, J., Rowe, L. 2003Sexual conflictTrends Ecol. Evol184147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cook, P.A., Wedell, N. 1999Non-fertile sperm delay female rematingNature397486486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Córdoba-Aguilar, A., Contreras-Garduno, J. 2003Sexual conflictTrends Ecol. Evol18439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Crow, J.F., Kimura, M. 1970An Introduction to Population Genetic TheoryHarper and RowNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  22. Dawkins, R. 1976The Selfish GeneOxford University PressOxfordGoogle Scholar
  23. Dobzhansky, T.G. 1940Speciation as a stage in evolutionary divergenceAm. Nat74312321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Eberhard, W.G. 1985Sexual Selection and Animal GenitaliaHarvard University PressCambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  25. Eberhard W.G. (2004). Male–female conflict and genitalia: failure to confirm predictions in insect and spiders. Biol. Rev. 79Google Scholar
  26. Eberhard, W.G., Cordero, C. 2003Sexual conflict and female choiceTrends Ecol. Evol18438CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Felsenstein, J. 1981Skepticism towards Santa Rosalia, or why are there so few kinds of animals?Evolution35124138Google Scholar
  28. Frank, S.A. 2000Sperm competition and female avoidance of polyspermy mediated by sperm–egg biochemistryEvol. Ecol. Res2613625Google Scholar
  29. Franke, E.S., Styan, C.A., Babcock, R. 2002Sexual conflict and polyspermy under sperm-limited conditions: in situ evidence from field simulations with the free-spawning marine echinoid Evechinus chloroticusAm. Nat160485496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Futuyma, D.J. 1998Evolutionary BiologySinauerSutherland, MAGoogle Scholar
  31. Gage, M.J.G., Parker, G.A., Nylin, S., Wiklund, C. 2002Sexual selection and speciation in mammals, butterflies and spidersProc. Royal Soc. Lond. B26923092316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Galindo, B.E., Moy, G., Swanson, W.J., Vacquier, V.D. 2002Full-length sequence of verl, the egg vitelline envelope receptor for abalone sperm lysinGene288111117CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Galindo, B.E., Vacquier, V.D., Swanson, W.J. 2003Positive selection in the egg receptor for abalone sperm lysinProc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA10046394643CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Gavrilets, S. 1997Coevolutionary chase in exploiter-victim systems with polygenic charactersJ. Theor. Biol186527534CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Gavrilets, S. 2000Rapid evolution of reproductive isolation driven by sexual conflictNature403886889CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Gavrilets, S. 2003Models of speciation: what have we learned in 40 years?Evolution5721972215PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Gavrilets, S. 2004Fitness Landscapes and the Origin of SpeciesPrinceton University PressPrinceton, NJGoogle Scholar
  38. Gavrilets, S., Waxman, D. 2002Sympatric speciation by sexual conflictProc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA991053310538CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Gavrilets, S., Arnqvist, G., Friberg, U. 2001The evolution of female mate choice by sexual conflictProc. Royal Soc. Lond. B26853139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Getty, T. 1999Chase-away sexual selection as a noisy reliable signalingEvolution53299302Google Scholar
  41. Gilbert, S.F. 1997Developmental Biology5Sinauer AssociatesSutherland, MAGoogle Scholar
  42. Haig, D. 2000The kinship theory of genomic imprintingAnn. Rev. Ecol. Syst31932CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Härdling, R., Jormalainen, V., Tuomi, J. 1999Fighting costs stabilize aggressive behavior in intersexual conflictsEvol. Ecol13245265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Härdling, R., Smith, H.G., Jormalainen, V., Tuomi, J. 2001Resolution of evolutionary conflicts: costly behaviours enforce the evolution of cost-free competitionEvol. Ecol. Res3829844Google Scholar
  45. Hawkes, K., Rogers, A.R., Charnov, E. 1995The males dilemma – increased offspring production is more paternity to stealEvol. Ecol9662677CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Haygood R. (2004). Sexual conflict and protein polymorphism. Evolution 58Google Scholar
  47. Holland, B., Rice, W.R. 1998Chase-away sexual selection: antagonistic seduction versus resistanceEvolution5217Google Scholar
  48. Holland, B., Rice, W.R. 1999Experimental removal of sexual selection reverses intersexual antagonistic coevolution and removes a reproductive loadProc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA9650835088CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Howard, D.J. 1993Reinforcement: origin, dynamics, and fate of an evolutionary hypothesisHarrison, R.G. eds. Hybrid Zones and the Evolutionary ProcessOxford University PressNew York4669Google Scholar
  50. Howard, D.J. 1999Conspecific sperm and pollen precedence and speciationAnn. Rev. Ecol. Syst30109132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Howard, D.J., Reece, M., Gregory, P.G., Chu, J., Cain, M.L. 1998The evolution of barriers to fertilization between closely related organismsHoward, D.J.Berlocher, S.H. eds. Endless Forms: Species and SpeciationOxford University PressNew York279288Google Scholar
  52. Huber, B.A., González, A.P. 2001Female genital dimorphism in a spider (Araneae: Pholcidae)J. Zool255301304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Iwasa, Y.I., Pomiankowski, A., Nee, S. 1991The evolution of costly mate preferences. II. The “handicap” principleEvolution4514311442Google Scholar
  54. Jennions, M.D., Petrie, M. 2000Why do females mate multiply? A review of the genetic benefitsBiol. Rev752164CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Jormalainen, V., Tuomi, J., Yamamura, N. 1994Intersexual conflict over precopula duration in mate guarding CrustaceanBehav. Process32265283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Joron M. (2000). Warning Colour and Müllerian Mimicry: the Diversification Puzzle. PhD thesis, Université de MontpellierGoogle Scholar
  57. Kodric-Brown, A., Nicoletto, P.F. 2001Age and experience affect female choice in the guppy (Poecilia Reticulata)Am. Nat1573161323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Kondoh, M., Higashi, M. 2000Reproductive isolation mechanism resulting from resolution of intragenomic conflictAm. Nat156511518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Kresge, N., Vacquier, V.D., Stout, C.D. 2001Abalone lysin: the dissolving and evolving sperm proteinBioEssays2395103CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Lande, R. 1979Effective deme size during long-term evolution estimated from rates of chromosomal rearrangementEvolution33234251Google Scholar
  61. Lande, R. 1981Models of speciation by sexual selection on polygenic charactersProc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA7837213725Google Scholar
  62. Landry, C., Geyer, L.B., Arakaki, Y., Uehara, T., Palumbi, S.R. 2003Recent speciation in the Indo-West Pacific: rapid evolution of gamete recognition and sperm morphology in cryptic species of sea urchinProc. Royal Soc. Lond. B27018391847CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Lee, Y.-H., Vacquire, V.D. 1992The divergence of species-specific abalone sperm lysin is promoted by positive Darwinian selectionBiol. Bull18297l04Google Scholar
  64. Linder, M., Lindeberg, G., Reinikainen, T., Teeri, T.T., Pettersson, G. 1995The difference in affinity between two fungal cellulose-binding domains is dominated by a single amino acid substitutionFEBS Lett3729698CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Martin, O., Hosken, D. 2003The evolution of reproductive isolation through sexual conflictNature423979982CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Maynard Smith, J. 1982Evolution and the Theory of GamesCambridge University PressCambridgeGoogle Scholar
  67. Mayr, E. 1942Systematics and the Origin of SpeciesColumbia University PressNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  68. Mayr, E. 1963Animal Species and EvolutionBelknap PressCambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  69. Metz, E.C., Palumbi, S.R. 1996Positive selection and sequence rearrangements generate extensive polymorphism in the gamete recognition protein bindinMol. Biol. Evol13397406PubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Mitra, S., Landel, H., Pruett-Jones, S. 1996Species richness covaries with mating system in birdsAuk113544551Google Scholar
  71. Morrow, E., Pitcher, T.E., Arnqvist, G. 2003No evidence that sexual selection is an “engine of speciation” in birdsEcol. Lett6228234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Mylius, S.D. 1999What pair formation can do to the battle of the sexes: towards more realistic game dynamicsJ. Theor. Biol197469485CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. Nagaoka, M., Akaike, T. 2003Single amino acid substitution in the mouse IgG1 Fc region induces drastic enhancement of the affinity to protein AProtein Eng16243245CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  74. Nei, M., Maruyama, T., Wu, C.-I. 1983Models of evolution of reproductive isolationGenetics103557579PubMedGoogle Scholar
  75. Oshima, Y., Joshi, B.H., Puri, R.K. 2000Conversion of interleukin-13 into a high affinity agonist by a single amino acid substitutionJ. Biol. Chem2751437514380CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  76. Palumbi, S.R. 1998Species formation and the evolution of gamete recognition lociHoward, D.J.Berlocher, S.H. eds. Endless Forms: Species and SpeciationOxford University PressNew York271278Google Scholar
  77. Palumbi, S.R. 1999All males are not created equal: fertility differences depend on gamete recognition polymorphisms in sea urchinsProc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA9671263212637CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Parker, G.A. 1979Sexual selection and sexual conflictBlum, M.S.Blum, N.A. eds. Sexual Selection and Reproductive Competition in InsectsAcademic PressNew York123166Google Scholar
  79. Parker, G.A., Partridge, L. 1998Sexual conflict and speciationPhilos. Trans. Royal Soc. Lond. B353261274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Pitnick, S., Markow, T., Spicer, G.S. 1999Evolution of multiple kinds of sperm-storage organs in DrosophilaEvolution5318041822Google Scholar
  81. Pitnick, S., Brown, W.D., Miller, G.T. 2001aEvolution of female remating behavior following experimental removal of sexual selectionProc. Royal Soc. Lond. B268557563CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Pitnick, S., Miller, G.T., Reagan, J., Holland, B. 2001bMales’ evolutionary responses to experimental removal of sexual selectionProc. Royal Soc. Lond. B26810711080CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Pizzari, T., Snook, R.R. 2003Perspective: Sexual conflict and sexual selection: chasing away paradigm shiftsEvolution5712231236PubMedGoogle Scholar
  84. Presgraves, D.C., Baker, R.H., Wilkinson, G.S. 1999Coevolution of sperm and female reproductive tract morphology in stalk-eyed fliesProc. Royal Soc. Lond. B26610411047CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Reuter, M., Keller, L. 2001Sex ratio conflict and worker production in eusocial HymenoteraAm. Nat158166177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Rice, W.R. 1984Disruptive selection on habitat preferences and the evolution of reproductive isolationEvolution3812511260Google Scholar
  87. Rice, W.R. 1996Sexually antagonistic male adaptation triggered by experimental arrest of female evolutionNature381232234CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  88. Rice, W.R. 1998Intergenomic conflict, interlocus antagonistic coevolution, and the evolution of reproductive isolationHoward, D.J.Berlocher, S.H. eds. Endless Forms: Species and SpeciationOxford University PressNew York261270Google Scholar
  89. Rice, W.R., Holland, B. 1997The enemies within: intergenomic conflict, interlocus contest evolution (ICE), and intraspecific Red QueenBehav. Ecol. Sociobiol41110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Rieseberg, L.H. 1995The role of hybridization in evolution: old wine in new skinsAm. J. Bot82944953Google Scholar
  91. Rosenthal, G.G., Servedio, M.R. 1999Chase-away sexual selection: resistance to “resistance”Evolution53296299Google Scholar
  92. Rowe, L., Cameron, E., Day, T. 2003Detecting sexually antagonistic coevolution with population crossesProc. Royal Soc. Lond. B27020092016CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Servedio, M.R., Noor, M.A. 2003The role of reinforcement in speciation: theory and dataAnn. Rev. Ecol. Syst34339360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Smith, H.G., Härdling, R. 2000Clutch size evolution under sexual conflict enhances the stability of mating systemsProc. Royal Soc. Lond. B26721632170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Snook, R.R. 1998The risk of sperm competition and the evolution of sperm heteromorphismAnimal Behav5614971507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Sota, T., Kusumoto, F., Kubota, K. 2000Consequences of hybridization between Ohomopterus insulicola and O. arrowianus (Coleoptera, Carabidae) in a segmented river basin: parallel formation of hybrid swarmsBiol. J. Linn. Soc71297313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Swanson, W.J., Vacquier, V.D. 2002The rapid evolution of reproductive proteinsNature Rev. Genet3137144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Swanson, W.J., Vacquier, V.D. 2002Reproductive protein evolutionAnn. Rev. Ecol. Syst33161179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Swanson, W.J., Aquadro, C.F., Vacquier, V.D. 2001Polymorphism in abalone fertilization proteins is consistent with the neutral evolution of the egg’s receptor for lysin (VERL) and positive Darwinian selection of sperm lysinMol. Biol. Evol18376383PubMedGoogle Scholar
  100. Swanson, W.J., Nielsen, R., Yang, Q.F. 2003Pervasive adaptive evolution in mammalian fertilization proteinsMol. Biol. Evol201820PubMedGoogle Scholar
  101. Trivers, R.L. 1972Parental investment and sexual selectionCampbell, B. eds. Sexual Selection and the Descent of Man. 1871–1971Aldine Publishing CompanyChicago136179Google Scholar
  102. Udovic, D. 1980Frequency-dependent selection, disruptive selection, and the evolution of reproductive isolationAm. Nat116621641CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Vacquier, V.D., Lee, Y.-H. 1993Abalone sperm lysin: unusual mode of evolution of a gamete recognition proteinZygote1181196PubMedGoogle Scholar
  104. Vacquier, V.D., Moy, G.W. 1997The fucose sulfate polymer of egg jelly binds to sperm REJ and is the inducer of the sea urchin sperm acrosome reactionDevelop. Biol192125135CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  105. Wachtmeister, C.-A., Enquist, M. 2000The evolution of courtship rituals in monogamous speciesBehav. Ecol11405410CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  106. Wade, M.J., Patterson, H., Chang, N.W., Johnson, N.A. 1994Postcopulatory, prezygotic isolation in flour beetlesHeredity72163167PubMedGoogle Scholar
  107. Wedell, N. 2001Female remating in butterflies: interaction between female genotype and nonfertile spermJ. Evol. Biol14746754CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  108. White, M.J.D. 1978Modes of SpeciationFreemanSan FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  109. Wolfner, M.F. 1997Tokens of love: functions; an regulation of drosophilamale accessory gland productsInsect Biochem. Mol. Biol27119192Google Scholar
  110. Wu, C.-I. 1985A stochastic simulation study of speciation by sexual selectionEvolution396682Google Scholar
  111. Yang, Z.H., Swanson, W.J., Vacquier, V.D. 2000Maximum-likelihood analysis of molecular adaptation in abalone sperm lysin reveals variable selective pressures among lineages and sitesMol. Biol. Evol1714461455PubMedGoogle Scholar
  112. Zeh, J.A., Zeh, D.W. 2003Toward a new sexual selection paradigm: polyandry, conflict and incompatibilityEthology109929950CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of TennesseeUSA
  2. 2.Department of MathematicsUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations