Theory predicts that physiological costs of producing elaborate phenotypes assure the honesty of sexually selected traits. It is generally assumed that these physiological processes drive sexually selected displays. However, a recent study by Safran and colleagues demonstrates that the manipulation of plumage ornaments in barn swallows alters the temporal course of circulating androgens, thus rejecting the scenario of a static, unidirectional relationship between physiology and sexual displays. Instead, these results suggest that dynamic feedbacks between physiological, morphological and behavioural costs underlie the development and maintenance of sexually selected ornaments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics