Local resource competition and the evolution of male-biased sex ratios

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47 Scopus citations


In many mammalian species, maturing males disperse from their natal groups, while females remain near their places of birth. If resources are limited locally, related females may be forced to compete with one another for access to resources, while mature males will compete primarily with unrelated individuals in non-natal groups. Clark (1978) suggested that under such circumstances the extent of competition among females could be reduced if females uniformly skewed the sex ratio of their offspring in favor of males. Skewed secondary sex ratios and investment patterns in galagos and red deer appear to be consistent with this hypothesis. Several authors have recently demonstrated that the evolution of skewed sex ratios may be influenced by population structure, and Wilson & Colwell (1981) have shown that male-biased sex ratios can evolve in structured haplo-diploid populations. Here, I construct an intrademic group selection model to simulate the effects of density-dependent mortality upon diploid populations structured much as Clark describes: males disperse, females remain near their female relatives, and local resource competition limits the size of local groups. The results confirm that male-biased sex ratios can evolve in a diploid species, even when groups are large and the skew in sex ratio is substantial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-213
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 21 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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