Widespread loss of sexually selected traits: How the peacock lost its spots

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243 Scopus citations


Current and traditional research on sexual selection focuses largely on explaining the evolution (gain) of elaborate male traits and of female preferences for these traits. However, recent phylogenetic studies have revealed a surprising trend: that losses of these elaborate male traits are widespread and can be much more common than are gains. Furthermore, recent studies also show that female preferences for these male traits can be reduced, lost, or even reversed. These losses of traits and preferences could have important implications for competing models of sexual selection. Integrated phylogenetic, experimental and theoretical studies are needed to explain these unexpected patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-523
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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