Empirical data indicate that sexual preferences are critical for maintaining species boundaries, yet theoretical work has suggested that, on their own, they can have only a minimal role in maintaining biodiversity. This is because long-term coexistence within overlapping ranges is thought to be unlikely in the absence of ecological differentiation9. Here we challenge this widely held view by generalizing a standard model of sexual selection to include two ubiquitous features of populations with sexual selection: spatial variation in local carrying capacity, and mate-search costs in females.
Sexual selection enables long-term coexistence despite ecological equivalence
Leithen K. M’Gonigle, Rupert Mazzucco, Sarah P. Otto & Ulf Dieckmann
Nature 484, 506–509 (26 April 2012) http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature10971