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Sex, Size and Gender Roles$
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Daphne J. Fairbairn, Wolf U. Blanckenhorn, and Tamás Székely

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199208784

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199208784.001.0001

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ContentsFRONT MATTER

Introduction: the enigma of sexual size dimorphism

Chapter:
(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction: the enigma of sexual size dimorphism
Source:
Sex, Size and Gender Roles
Author(s):

Daphne J. Fairbairn

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199208784.003.0001

This introductory chapter opens by describing general patterns of variation in sexual size dimorphism (SSD), with emphasis on several taxa (plants, fishes, and aquatic invertebrates) not included in the survey chapters that follow. It also highlights recently documented examples of extreme SSD, such as Lamprologus callipterus, a shell-brooding cichlid fish, where males are >12 times heavier than females, and the blanket octopus (Tremoctopus violaceous), where females can be 40,000 times larger than the dwarf males. The chapter then develops the two major integrative themes of the book: discovering the adaptive significance of SSD and determining the importance of genetic constraints in shaping its evolution. After briefly summarizing the contributions of the chapters to these themes, the chapter closes by discussing methodological difficulties associated with estimating adult body size and SSD in natural populations.

Keywords:   adaptive significance, dwarf males, evolution, genetic constraint

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