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Proc Biol Sci. 2002 Dec 22;269(1509):2533-9.

Validation of Bateman's principles: a genetic study of sexual selection and mating patterns in the rough-skinned newt.

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  • 1Department of Zoology, 3029 Cordley Hall, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.


Few studies have influenced thought on the nature of sexual selection to the extent of the classic paper of A. J. Bateman on mating patterns in Drosophila. However, interpretation of his study remains controversial, and a lack of modern empirical evidence prevents a consensus with respect to the perceived utility of Bateman's principles in the study of sexual selection. Here, we use a genetic study of natural mating patterns in the rough-skinned newt, Taricha granulosa, to investigate the concordance between Bateman's principles and the intensity of sexual selection. We found that males experienced strong sexual selection on tail height and body size, while sexual selection was undetectable in females. This direct quantification of sexual selection agreed perfectly with inferences that are based on Bateman's principles. Specifically, males (in comparison with females) exhibited greater standardized variances in reproductive and mating success, as well as a stronger relationship between mating success and reproductive success. Overall, our results illustrate that Bateman's principles provide the only quantitative measures of the mating system with explicit connections to formal selection theory and should be the central focus of studies of mating patterns in natural populations.

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