Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Battle Of The Sexes Leads To A Biological Arms Race

Date:
February 20, 2002
Source:
Uppsala University
Summary:
Boxes of chocolate and Valentine cards won’t get you far in the animal world, where courting is considerably tougher. New research confirms earlier beliefs: an evolutionary “battle of the sexes” can lead to a biological arms race between males and females.

Boxes of chocolate and Valentine cards won’t get you far in the animal world, where courting is considerably tougher. New research confirms earlier beliefs: an evolutionary “battle of the sexes” can lead to a biological arms race between males and females.

Related Articles


We all know that males and females of most animal species look and behave very differently. Males are, for example, often provided with various “weapons”, bright colours or other ornaments. Females are, however, not easily impressed, and such differences between males and females have traditionally been explained by females search for good fathers for their offspring. A new and quite different explanation is instead based on different and fundamental conflicts of interest between the sexes.

Males and females play different roles in reproduction. What is best for one sex is therefore rarely best for the other. Such differences lead to a range of different sexual conflicts. For example, males of most animal species benefit from mating often with as many partners as possible, while females who are already mated instead stand to loose from mating with too many males. Males should thus seek to “convince” females to mate, while females should evolve resistance to males’ mating attempts. The traits which males may use in such conflicts may be of varying kinds, ranging from elaborate ornaments to mate grasping adaptations which makes it difficult for females to escape persistent males.

The result of such sexual conflict is in theory an “arms race” between the sexes, where male persistence will be matched by female resistance. Such arms races are, however, very difficult to study. The fact that male and female adaptations counterbalance, means that the underlying conflicts will often remain “hidden”. Both sexes may be running frantically, in an evolutionary sense, but their interactions may remain at a standstill.

New research conducted by Gφran Arnqvist at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and Locke Rowe at the University of Toronto, Canada, has for the first time unveiled the arms race between the sexes. In a study published in this week’s issue of Nature, they illuminates sexual conflict in a group of insects, water striders. By using a unique combination of comparative and experimental tools, the researchers show that the arms race between the sexes in these animals is indeed balanced, but not perfectly so. Male armament is not quite matched by females in some species, and females suffer very high rates of costly and superfluous matings as a consequence. In other species, females instead have a slight upper hand in the arms race, and males of such species are only able to mate very rarely. It is this relative balance between the sexes which determines their ability to achieve their interests. The study also shows that males are females rapidly move jointly up and down this seemingly endless coevolutionary spiral.

The new research not only confirms that sexual conflict can shape males and females, but also indicates that such conflicts can promote the formation generation of new species.

###

Reference:

Arnqvist, G. and L. Rowe. 2002. Antagonistic coevolution between the sexes in a group of insects. Nature 415:787-789.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Uppsala University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Uppsala University. "Battle Of The Sexes Leads To A Biological Arms Race." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020215071247.htm>.
Uppsala University. (2002, February 20). Battle Of The Sexes Leads To A Biological Arms Race. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020215071247.htm
Uppsala University. "Battle Of The Sexes Leads To A Biological Arms Race." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020215071247.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) — Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cambodian Capital's Only Working Elephant to Retire in Jungle

Cambodian Capital's Only Working Elephant to Retire in Jungle

AFP (Nov. 25, 2014) — Phnom Penh's only working elephant was blessed by a crowd of chanting Buddhist monks Tuesday as she prepared for a life of comfortable jungle retirement after three decades of giving rides to tourists. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Buzz60 (Nov. 24, 2014) — A Swedish Adventure racing team travels to try and win a world title, but comes home with something way better: a stray dog that joined the team for much of the grueling 430-mile race. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins