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Evolution. 2014 Aug;68(8):2343-56. doi: 10.1111/evo.12445. Epub 2014 Jun 3.

Replicated origin of female-biased adult sex ratio in introduced populations of the trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata).

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Department of Biology, University of California at Riverside, Riverside, California 92521.


There are many theoretical and empirical studies explaining variation in offspring sex ratio but relatively few that explain variation in adult sex ratio. Adult sex ratios are important because biased sex ratios can be a driver of sexual selection and will reduce effective population size, affecting population persistence and shapes how populations respond to natural selection. Previous work on guppies (Poecilia reticulata) gives mixed results, usually showing a female-biased adult sex ratio. However, a detailed analysis showed that this bias varied dramatically throughout a year and with no consistent sex bias. We used a mark-recapture approach to examine the origin and consistency of female-biased sex ratio in four replicated introductions. We show that female-biased sex ratio arises predictably and is a consequence of higher male mortality and longer female life spans with little effect of offspring sex ratio. Inconsistencies with previous studies are likely due to sampling methods and sampling design, which should be less of an issue with mark-recapture techniques. Together with other long-term mark-recapture studies, our study suggests that bias in offspring sex ratio rarely contributes to adult sex ratio in vertebrates. Rather, sex differences in adult survival rates and longevity determine vertebrate adult sex ratio.


Life span; mark-recapture; population structure; sex-biased mortality; sex-biased recruitment; sex-ratio

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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