Skip to main content

Data from: Male-mediated prenatal loss: functions and mechanisms

Cite this dataset

Zipple, Matthew, N.; Roberts, Eila K.; Alberts, Susan C.; Beehner, Jacinta C. (2019). Data from: Male-mediated prenatal loss: functions and mechanisms [Dataset]. Dryad.


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 non-sire 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 lay out a framework that explains the relationship between feticide and the Bruce effect and describes what is currently 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.

Usage notes