Offspring Quality and the Polygyny Threshold: "The Sexy Son Hypothesis"

@article{Weatherhead1979OffspringQA,
  title={Offspring Quality and the Polygyny Threshold: "The Sexy Son Hypothesis"},
  author={Patrick J. Weatherhead and Raleigh J. Robertson},
  journal={The American Naturalist},
  year={1979},
  volume={113},
  pages={201 - 208}
}
An expansion of the Orians-Verner model for the evolution of polygyny has been made to explain evidence contradictory to that model. By separating the individual quality of the male from the quality of his territory and assuming that male offspring will at least in part inherit the individual qualities of their father, it was postulated that females mating with "attractive" males and suffering reduced reproductive success could ultimately gain an advantage through the success of their "sexy… 

Offspring Quality and the Polygyny Threshold: A New Model for the "Sexy Son" Hypothesis

Consideration of the effect of reproduction over subsequent generations indicates that there is a limit to the number of generations over which a polygynously mated female can recoup an initial reproductive loss.

The neglected role of individual variation in the sexy son hypothesis

It is argued that lack of support could be related to the SSH formulation of the polygyny threshold as a population-level mechanism making the female choice of a polygynous male either advantageous or disadvantageous regardless of any other difference between potential mates.

Nest Predation Lowers the Polygyny Threshold: A New Compensation Model

A model is presented showing that the rate of nest losses, in the range normally found among passerines, might favor the fitness of secondary females more than that of monogamous females, thus decreasing the cost of selecting mated males.

Evolution of Female Choice and Male Parental Investment in Polygynous Species: The Demise of the "Sexy Son"

These models address the "sexy son" hypothesis of Weatherhead and Robertson (1979), which contends that selection can create an equilibrium at which females on the average mate with certain attractive types of males that give them inferior material resources and therefore decrease the females' immediate reproductive success.

A Diploid "Sexy Son" Model

A diploid sexy-son model is presented, demonstrating by counterexample that generalizations from haploid and additive polygenic models are not valid and the maximization principles derived from other models can be violated in the diploids case.

A Test of the “Sexy Son” Hypothesis: Sons of Polygynous Collared Flycatchers Do Not Inherit Their Fathers’ Mating Status

The results show that the sons of polygynously mated females fledged in poor condition and therefore did not inherit their father’s large forehead patch (a condition‐dependent display trait) or mating status, and polygynous pairing resulted in fewer recruited grandchildren than did a monogamous pairing.

Maternal characteristics and the production and recruitment of sons in the eastern kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)

The results support predictions of sex allocation theory: high-quality (heavy) females breeding when conditions were optimal for male recruitment produced an excess of sons.

Male phenotypic quality influences offspring sex ratio in a polygynous ungulate

This study suggests that harvesting, by generating a high proportion of young, small and unattractive mates, affects the secondary sex ratio due to differential allocation effects in females, and suggests sustainable management needs to consider not only the direct demographic changes due to harvest mortality and selection, but also the components related to behavioural ecology and opportunities for female choice.

Sexual conflict and the polygamy threshold

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