Male-mediated prenatal loss: Functions and mechanisms.

Journal Article (Review;Journal Article)

Sexually selected infanticide has been the subject of intense empirical and theoretical study for decades; a related phenomenon, male-mediated prenatal loss, has received much less attention in evolutionary studies. Male-mediated prenatal loss occurs when inseminated or pregnant females terminate reproductive effort following exposure to a nonsire male, either through implantation failure or pregnancy termination. Male-mediated prenatal loss encompasses two sub-phenomena: sexually selected feticide and the Bruce effect. In this review, we provide a framework that explains the relationship between feticide and the Bruce effect and describes what is known about the proximate and ultimate mechanisms involved in each. Using a simple model, we demonstrate that male-mediated prenatal loss can provide greater reproductive benefits to males than infanticide. We therefore suggest that, compared to infanticide, male-mediated prenatal loss may be more prevalent in mammalian species and may have played a greater role in their social evolution than has previously been documented.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Zipple, MN; Roberts, EK; Alberts, SC; Beehner, JC

Published Date

  • May 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 28 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 114 - 125

PubMed ID

  • 30953577

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6548597

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1520-6505

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1060-1538

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/evan.21776


  • eng