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Interaction-Independent Sexual Selection and the Mechanisms of Sexual Selection

Christopher G. Murphy
Evolution
Vol. 52, No. 1 (Feb., 1998), pp. 8-18
DOI: 10.2307/2410915
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2410915
Page Count: 11
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Interaction-Independent Sexual Selection and the Mechanisms of Sexual Selection
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Abstract

Darwin identified explicitly two types of sexual selection, male contests (combat and displays) and female choice, and he devoted the overwhelming majority of his examples to traits that influence the outcome of these interactions. Subsequent treatments of sexual selection have emphasized the importance of intra- and intersexual interactions as sources of sexual selection. However, many traits that are important determinants of mating success influence mating success without necessarily affecting the outcome of intra- and intersexual interactions. Here, I argue that traits can be subject to sexual selection even if they do not affect the outcome of intra- and intersexual interactions. I distinguish two types of sexual selection, interaction-independent and interaction-dependent selection, based on whether variance in mating success is the result of trait-dependent outcomes of interactions between conspecifics. I then use this distinction to construct a framework for classifying types of sexual selection that unifies and expands previously proposed frameworks. Finally, I outline several implications that the concept of interaction-independent sexual selection has for the general theory of sexual selection.

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