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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. May 1979; 76(5): 2480–2484.
PMCID: PMC383626

Simultaneous hermaphroditism and sexual selection

Abstract

Theory about the evolution of sexual behavior in dioecious species is based on the general assumption that egg production is limited by a female's ability to garner resources to make eggs, not by a lack of sperm to fertilize them. Reproductive success for males is thus limited by access to females (and their eggs). I suggest that egg production by simultaneous hermaphrodites also obeys this principle—that fertilized egg production by an individual is not limited by sperm availability, but by resources allocated to eggs. If true, this suggests that sperm competition (reproduction success through male function) and a form of male—female conflict have played important roles in the evolution of hermaphroditism.

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Selected References

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  • Ghiselin MT. The evolution of hermaphroditism among animals. Q Rev Biol. 1969 Jun;44(2):189–208. [PubMed]
  • Charnov EL, Bull J. When is sex environmentally determined? Nature. 1977 Apr 28;266(5605):828–830. [PubMed]
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