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Sexual selection and sexual size dimorphism in animals

Cite this dataset

Janicke, Tim; Fromonteil, Salomé (2021). Sexual selection and sexual size dimorphism in animals [Dataset]. Dryad.


Sexual selection is often considered as a critical evolutionary force promoting sexual size dimorphism (SSD) in animals. However, empirical evidence for a positive relationship between sexual selection on males and male-biased SSD received mixed support depending on the studied taxonomic group and on the method used to quantify sexual selection. Here, we present a meta-analytic approach accounting for phylogenetic non-independence to test how standardized metrics of the opportunity and strength of pre-copulatory sexual selection relate to SSD across a broad range of animal taxa comprising up to 95 effect sizes from 59 species. We found that SSD based on length measurements was correlated with the sex difference in the opportunity for sexual selection but showed a weak and statistically non-significant relationship with the sex difference in the Bateman gradient. These findings suggest that pre-copulatory sexual selection plays a limited role for the evolution of sexual size dimorphism in a broad phylogenetic context.

Usage notes

The dataset comprises 1) a data file (Janicke_&_Fromonteil_2021_DataTable.txt), which includes effect sizes and estimates of sexual size dimorphism and 2) a phylogenetic tree in NEWICK format used to account for phylogenetic non-independence.


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Award: JA 2653/2-1