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Trends Ecol Evol. 1996 Feb;11(2):92-8.

Alternative reproductive strategies and tactics: diversity within sexes.

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Dept of Zoology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A1.


Not all members of a sex behave in the same way. Frequency- and statusdependent selection have given rise to many alternative reproductive phenotypes within the sexes. The evolution and proximate control of these alternatives are only beginning to be understood. Although game theory has provided a theoretical framework, the concept of the mixed strategy has not been realized in nature, and alternative strategies are very rare. Recent findings suggest that almost all alternative reproductive phenotypes within the sexes are due to alternative tactics within a conditional strategy, and, as such, while the average fitnesses of the alternative phenotypes are unequal, the strategy is favoured in evolution. Proximate mechanisms that underlie alternative phenotypes may have many similarities with those operating between the sexes.

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