Evolutionary insight from a humble fly: sperm competition and the yellow dungfly

Leigh W. Simmons, Geoff A. Parker, David J. Hosken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Studies of the yellow dungfly in the 1960s provided one of the first quantitative demonstrations of the costs and benefits associated with male and female reproductive behaviour. These studies advanced appreciation of sexual selection as a significant evolutionary mechanism and contributed to the 1970s paradigm shift toward individual selectionist thinking. Three behaviours in particular led to the realization that sexual selection can continue during and after mating: (i) female receptivity to remating, (ii) sperm displacement and (iii) post-copulatory mate guarding. These behaviours either generate, or are adaptations to sperm competition, cryptic female choice and sexual conflict. Here we review this body of work, and its contribution to the development of post-copulatory sexual selection theory. This article is part of the theme issue 'Fifty years of sperm competition'.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20200062
Number of pages1
JournalPhilosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
Issue number1813
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2020


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