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Genetica. 2001;112-113:463-74.

Sexual conflict and evolution in Trinidadian guppies.

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Division of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, University of St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, UK.


Recent investigations have highlighted the importance of sexual conflict in the evolution of reproductive isolation. Examination of the Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata) shows how geographic variation in sexual conflict can mediate the emergence of isolating mechanisms. On the basis of pre-mating behaviour guppy females appear to be winning the battle of the sexes in low risk localities whereas males are apparently ahead in high-predation environments. However, the conclusion that sexual selection (through female choice) is replaced by sexual coercion of females (as a consequence of sneaky mating) in predator rich (and productive) assemblages takes no account of post-copulatory mechanisms. Recent work on sperm competition in guppies suggests coevolution between males and females may also occur in the post-mating, pre-zygotic arena. The potential for the evolution of reproductive isolation at each stage of the mating sequence is assessed.

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