Sexual antagonism in sequential hermaphrodites

Thomas James Hitchcock*, Andy Gardner

*Corresponding author for this work

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Females and males may have distinct phenotypic optima, but share essentially the same complement of genes, potentially leading to trade-offs between attaining high fitness through female versus male reproductive success. Such sexual antagonism may be particularly acute in hermaphrodites, where both reproductive strategies are housed within a single individual. While previous models have focused on simultaneous hermaphroditism, we lack theory for how sexual antagonism may play out under sequential hermaphroditism, which has the additional complexities of age-structure. Here, we develop a formal theory of sexual antagonism in sequential hermaphrodites. First, we construct a general theoretical overview of the problem, then consider different types of sexually antagonistic and life-history trade-offs, under different modes of genetic inheritance (autosomal or cytoplasmic), and different forms of sequential hermaphroditism (protogynous, protoandrous or bidirectional). Finally, we provide a concrete illustration of these general patterns by developing a two-stage two-sex model, which yields conditions for both invasion of sexually antagonistic alleles and maintenance of sexually antagonistic polymorphisms.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20232222
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences
Issue number2011
Early online date22 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2023


  • Sequential hermaphroditism
  • Protogyny
  • Protandry
  • Intragenomic
  • Conflict
  • Intralocus sexual conflict


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