Arnqvist (2004) raises some concerns with several of the points made by Pizzari and Snook (2003) on the study of sexually antagonistic coevolution (SAC) generated by sexual conflict, arguing that: (1) sexual conflict cannot be expressed in terms of average male and female fitness; (2) our criticism of current experimental approaches, particularly interpopulation crosses, is unjustified; and (3) the alternative experimental approach we proposed is problematic. Here we discuss and respond to these criticisms by: (1) clarifying that we can distinguish between SAC and mutualistic sexual coevolution by measuring changes in the average fitness of the reproducing subsamples of males and females of a population across generations, (2) maintaining that testing SAC using interpopulation crosses is undermined by the lack of a priori knowledge of what traits mediate SAC across isolated populations, and (3) reinforcing the advantages of our experimental approach to distinguish between sexually mutualistic and antagonistic selection.
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Vol. 58 • No. 6