Evol Ecol Res 5: 739-757 (2003)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Dynamical instabilities lead to sympatric speciation

Catarina R. Almeida1* and Fernão Vistulo de Abreu2

1Departamento de Biologia and  2Departamento de Física, Universidade de Aveiro, 3800 Aveiro, Portugal

Address all correspondence to Catarina R. Almeida, Department of Biological Sciences, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ, UK.


We propose a robust mechanism for sympatric speciation based on the assumption that sexual selection operates in two directions: selection of males by females and of females by males. Complex dynamical instabilities emerge, creating differential fitness depending on the individuals displaying traits and preferences. When a secondary sexual trait is introduced in a population, due to mutations, the activation of previously neutral genes or a different perception of already existent displaying traits, sympatric speciation may result from a competitive exclusion principle.

Keywords: complexity, mating systems, sexual competition, sexual selection, sympatric speciation.

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