Costs and the diversification of exaggerated animal structures

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2001
Authors:D. J. Emlen
Date Published:Feb

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 con- ferred 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.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith