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8 March 2019 Evolution of Phenotypic Sex Differences in Cooperative Species: is Competition an Opposing Force?
Raphael Igor Dias
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Abstract

Sexual selection is generally thought to be weak in cooperative breeding species, largely because polygamous mating patterns that drive sexual selection can erode the kin-selected benefits of cooperation. Social selection, on the other hand, is expected to be strong among cooperative species especially because of the intense competition over status and resource access. In support of this view, several studies have shown monogamous mating and little sex difference in cooperative species. However, most previous studies have focused on species with relatively simple social systems and few studies have examined how mating patterns, social organization and ecological attributes have influenced the evolution of ornamentation in cooperative species. Here I used secondary data to examine several hypotheses and shed some light on how social and sexual selection influenced the evolution of phenotypic sex traits in cooperatively breeding birds. Despite the broad assumption that cooperative breeding species are monomorphic, results demonstrate that sex differences and the presence of ornamentation are widely spread in the group. Stable environments with higher precipitation are associated to the strongest differences between sexes. Results indicate that although extrapair matings and environment attributes are determinant to the evolution of sex differences, males and females of cooperative species seem to be more alike than their non-cooperative counterparts. The extent of mutual ornamentation found in cooperative species indicates that the combination of both sexual and social selection are imperative to determine how evolution has shaped phenotypic attributes in cooperative species.

Raphael Igor Dias "Evolution of Phenotypic Sex Differences in Cooperative Species: is Competition an Opposing Force?," Acta Ornithologica 53(2), 125-142, (8 March 2019). https://doi.org/10.3161/00016454AO2018.53.2.003
Received: 1 January 2017; Accepted: 1 September 2018; Published: 8 March 2019
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