The evolution of sex roles in birds is related to adult sex ratio

A. Likér, Robert P. Freckleton, Tamás Székely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

70 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sex-role reversal represents a formidable challenge for evolutionary biologists, since it is not clear which ecological, life-history or social factors facilitated conventional sex roles (female care and male-male competition for mates) to be reversed (male care and female-female competition). Classic theories suggested ecological or life-history predictors of role reversal, but most studies failed to support these hypotheses. Recent theory however predicts that sex-role reversal should be driven by male-biased adult sex ratio (ASR). Here we test this prediction for the first time using phylogenetic comparative analyses. Consistent with theory, both mating system and parental care are strongly related to ASR in shorebirds: conventional sex roles are exhibited by species with female-biased ASR, whereas sex-role reversal is associated with male-biased ASR. These results suggest that social environment has a strong influence on breeding systems and therefore revealing the causes of ASR variation in wild populations is essential for understanding sex role evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1587
JournalNature Communications
Volume4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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birds
Sex Ratio
Birds
Social Environment
Breeding
social factors
histories
predictions
Population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

The evolution of sex roles in birds is related to adult sex ratio. / Likér, A.; Freckleton, Robert P.; Székely, Tamás.

In: Nature Communications, Vol. 4, 1587, 2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Likér, A. ; Freckleton, Robert P. ; Székely, Tamás. / The evolution of sex roles in birds is related to adult sex ratio. In: Nature Communications. 2013 ; Vol. 4.
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