Costs and the diversification of exaggerated animal structures

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284 Scopus citations


Sexual selection can favor production of extravagant ornaments and weapons in the contest for access to the opposite sex. Existing explanations for the diversity of sexually selected structures focus on reproductive benefits conferred by particular ornament or weapon morphologies. Here, I show that costs of weapon production also may drive patterns of weapon evolution. In beetles, production of horns reduces the size of neighboring morphological structures (antennae, eyes, or wings, depending on the location of the horns), and these tradeoffs reveal unexpected functional associations between ecology and horn morphology. This study illustrates a critical but overlooked role of costs in sexual selection and has implications for understanding the evolution of animal morphology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1534-1536
Number of pages3
Issue number5508
StatePublished - Feb 23 2001


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