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Does sexual selection shape sex differences in longevity and senescence patterns across vertebrates? A review and new insights from captive ruminants


Tidière, Morgane; Gaillard, Jean-Michel; Müller, Dennis W H; Lackey, Laurie Bingaman; Gimenez, Olivier; Clauss, Marcus; Lemaître, Jean-François (2015). Does sexual selection shape sex differences in longevity and senescence patterns across vertebrates? A review and new insights from captive ruminants. Evolution, 69(12):3123-3140.

Abstract

In most mammals, both sexes display different survival patterns, often involving faster senescence in males. Being under intense sexual competition to secure mating opportunities, males of polygynous species allocate resources to costly behaviors and conspicuous sexual traits, which might explain these observed differences in longevity and senescence patterns. However, comparative studies performed to date have led to conflicting results. We aimed to resolve this problem by first reviewing case studies of the relationship between the strength of sexual selection and age-specific survival metrics. Then, we performed a comprehensive comparative analysis to test whether such relationships exist among species of captive ruminants. We found that the strength of sexual selection negatively influenced the onset of actuarial senescence in males, with males senescing earlier in polygynous than in monogamous species, which led to reduced male longevity in polygynous species. Moreover, males of territorial species senesced earlier but slower, and have a shorter longevity than males of species displaying other mating tactics. We detected little influence of the strength of sexual selection on the rate of actuarial senescence. Our findings demonstrate that the onset of actuarial senescence, rather than its rate, is a side effect of physiological mechanisms linked to sexual selection, and potentially accounts for observed differences in longevity.

Abstract

In most mammals, both sexes display different survival patterns, often involving faster senescence in males. Being under intense sexual competition to secure mating opportunities, males of polygynous species allocate resources to costly behaviors and conspicuous sexual traits, which might explain these observed differences in longevity and senescence patterns. However, comparative studies performed to date have led to conflicting results. We aimed to resolve this problem by first reviewing case studies of the relationship between the strength of sexual selection and age-specific survival metrics. Then, we performed a comprehensive comparative analysis to test whether such relationships exist among species of captive ruminants. We found that the strength of sexual selection negatively influenced the onset of actuarial senescence in males, with males senescing earlier in polygynous than in monogamous species, which led to reduced male longevity in polygynous species. Moreover, males of territorial species senesced earlier but slower, and have a shorter longevity than males of species displaying other mating tactics. We detected little influence of the strength of sexual selection on the rate of actuarial senescence. Our findings demonstrate that the onset of actuarial senescence, rather than its rate, is a side effect of physiological mechanisms linked to sexual selection, and potentially accounts for observed differences in longevity.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ageing, intrinsic physiological costs, mating system, ungulates
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:15 Jan 2016 11:30
Last Modified:11 May 2018 11:40
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0014-3820
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.12801
PubMed ID:26497812

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