Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Precopulatory Intrasexual Competition

  • Bruno Alves Buzatto
  • Renée Claire Firman
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_64-1



Precopulatory intrasexual competition occurs when individuals of the same sex compete directly for the opportunity to copulate with individuals of the opposite sex.


Precopulatory intrasexual competition usually involves competition between males for the opportunity to copulate with receptive females. This phenomenon is thought to be responsible for the evolution of a variety of morphological traits, such as enlarged and elaborate male weaponry, and also behavioral traits, such as precopulatory mate guarding. When precopulatory intrasexual competition is particularly intense, it might also lead to the evolution of alternative reproductive tactics among males, often resulting in male dimorphism (bimodality in the size of traits, such as horns, which creates two distinct male morphs). Precopulatory competition can also generate sexual conflict, where the evolutionary interests of the two sexes are not...


Sexual Selection Sperm Competition Dung Beetle Sexual Conflict Intrasexual Competition 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Evolutionary Biology, School of Animal Biology, The University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia