Shorebirds pp 149-167 | Cite as

The Evolution of Polyandry in Shorebirds

  • Sarah Lenington


The existence of polyandry has posed a difficult problem for theories attempting to account for the evolution of mating systems. The theory of sexual selection predicts competition among males, greater female than male parental investment, and more sexual promiscuity on the part of males than females (Darwin, 1871; Fisher, 1930; Orians, 1969; Trivers, 1972; Emlen and Oring, 1977). Polyandrous mating systems, particularly in extreme cases such as the Northern Jacana (Jacana spinosa) (Jenni and Collier, 1972), seem to violate each of these predictions. Females are larger and more aggressive than males, parental care is performed only by males, and females copulate with several males whereas each male copulates with only one female.


Parental Care Predation Rate Biparental Care Replacement Clutch Piping Plover 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Lenington
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Animal BehaviorRutgers UniversityNewarkUSA

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