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In polytocous mammals, the sex ratio during gestation can influence a variety of morphological, physiological, and life-history traits because of steroid leakage between fetuses. Similar phenomena have also recently been described for a viviparous lizard. Some of these effects have important fitness consequences by influencing reproductive success later in life. Thus, biasing the sex ratio toward one sex may lead to a decreased fitness for the other sex, and therefore constrain the evolution of skewed sex ratios. By incorporating effects of sex ratio on offspring fitness in a simple sex-allocation model, I show that, under some circumstances (1) skewed sex ratios are predicted to evolve, and (2) this cost can constrain the evolution of skewed sex ratios.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





927 - 931


Animals, Biological Evolution, Models, Biological, Reproduction, Sex Ratio