antelopes lizards mosquitoes behavioural ecology intrasexual competition
Intrasexual competition, the competition between individuals of a sex, is known to result in the evolution of bizarre, conspicuous, sometimes dangerous, often decorative traits. Our understanding of such competition derives primarily from males competing for mates. There is mounting evidence for widespread intrasexual competition in females. We are only beginning to discover the diverse range of ecological contexts in which female-female competition occurs. What can we learn from taxa as different as mosquitoes, lizards and antelope? We present work from our group that attempts to decipher female-female competition in diverse ecological contexts: how females compete for mates on antelope leks, how female lizards deploy multiple signals and aggression strategically during competition, and how female mosquitoes adopt unexpected and seemingly dangerous tactics when competing for resources for their offspring. We discuss how due to key life history differences, intrasexual competition is likely to favour traits in females that are quite different from those historically reported in males.