Polyandry in nature: A global analysis

Michelle L. Taylor, Tom A R Price, Nina Wedell*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

    124 Citations (Scopus)


    A popular notion in sexual selection is that females are polyandrous and their offspring are commonly sired by more than a single male. We now have large-scale evidence from natural populations to be able to verify this assumption. Although we concur that polyandry is a generally common and ubiquitous phenomenon, we emphasise that it remains variable. In particular, the persistence of single paternity, both within and between populations, requires more careful consideration. We also explore an intriguing relation of polyandry with latitude. Several recent large-scale analyses of the relations between key population fitness variables, such as heterozygosity, effective population size (Ne), and inbreeding coefficients, make it possible to examine the global effects of polyandry on population fitness for the first time.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)376-383
    Number of pages8
    JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


    • Heterozygosity
    • Latitude
    • Monandry
    • Polyandry
    • Population fitness
    • Sperm competition

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