sexual selection

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Related to sexual selection: natural selection

sexual selection:

see selectionselection.
In Darwinism, the mechanism of natural selection is considered of major importance in the process of evolution. Popular formulations sometimes envisage a struggle for existence in which direct competition for mates or for various factors in the environment (e.g.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sexual Selection


the particular form of natural selection distinguished by the evolutionary development of secondary sex characteristics. These characteristics include the bright nuptial plumage of many birds, including ducks and grouse, the dances of insects, the mating calls of birds, the fighting of male birds and mammals, the varied sound signals of males used to attract females, and the odoriferous glands of insects and mammals used for attracting the opposite sex. Prominent characteristics, such as coloration, develop chiefly in males. Females, especially during the reproductive period, are usually protected by appropriate behavior, coloration, and form.

The primary basis for sexual selection was the divergence in the identifying characteristics of males and females, which probably facilitated inbreeding of the same species and prevented crossbreeding with other species. Subsequently, individuals with more pronounced sexual characteristics attracted the opposite sex more easily and had the advantage in reproduction.

The ethological or behavioral mechanisms of isolation are partially affected by sexual selection. The course of sexual selection sometimes conflicts with other trends of natural selection. Genotypes that are preserved make reproduction more successful but do not increase the viability of the species as a whole. However, this does not justify contrasting sexual selection with natural selection or considering it an independent factor in evolution. Sexual selection was first suggested by C. Darwin in 1859 and later substantiated in 1871.


Darwin, C. Proiskhozhdenie vidov putem estestvennogo otbora. In Soch, vol. 3. Moscow-Leningrad, 1939. (Translated from English.)
Darwin, C. Proiskhozhdenie cheloveka i polovoi otbor. In Soch., vol. 5. Moscow, 1953. (Translated from English.)
Shmal’gauzen, I. I. Problemy darvinizma, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

sexual selection

[¦seksh·ə·wəl si′lek·shən]
A special form of natural selection responsible for the evolution of traits that promote success in competition for mates.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
In the process of sexual selection, there is one way in which women may exercise a certain amount of volition.
The sexual selection gradient for gnathopod size of males in South Lake was not significant and had large standard errors (Table 2).
1979: Sexual selection and sexual dimorphism in the Amphibia.
Future work will look at spatial changes in the sex ratio in relation to sexual selection in this fish.
Because the steep cline was observed in the male genitalia, a character widely postulated to be under sexual selection (Eberhard 1996), the results have a number of intriguing implications.
In the present work, we identify and review key directions of research that are critical for broadening our understanding of the evolution of parental care and sexual selection. We then describe a newly-documented population of the giant water bug Belostoma lutarium (Stal) (Insecta: Hemiptera) in Tennessee, and outline several ways in which B.
Biologists present relatively new sexual selection study models based on animal species in the New World tropics that have been intensively studied during the past 20 years.
However, sexual body size dimorphism may have causes other than sexual selection. The differential mortality between the sexes may cause an apparent size dimorphism because of unequal age of the sexes [5].
Darwin (1874) made little provision for sexual selection in externally fertilizing aquatic invertebrates, arguing that the general lack of sexual dimorphism in these systems and their often sessile or sedentary lifestyles made them unlikely targets for the selective forces of mate choice or mating competition (see also Arnold, 1994: Levitan, 2005).
Rather, we are subject to inborn tendencies, which develop through the reciprocally influential forces of natural and sexual selection.