Sex-Ratio Variation in Marsupials
Australian Journal of Zoology
37(3) 467 - 479
Many marsupials produce sex ratios biased towards male or female young. In several cases these changes are comfortably accommodated in the existing theory of sex allocation. Local resource competition and the Trivers-Willard hypothesis have been usefully applied to several data sets, and preliminary experimental work has supported the main tenets of theory. By contrast, several data sets lack explanation, and provide challenges to theoreticians. The high frequency of bias in marsupials does not result from data-dredging, as bias is usually reported in descriptive accounts of marsupial reproduction, without recourse to any theoretical or mechanistic explanations. It is not possible to distinguish whether the marsupial mode of reproduction is well suited to manipulate sex allocation, or whether it facilitates measurement of biased sex allocation. As for most eutherians and birds, the mechanism of prenatal sex allocation is unknown for any marsupial. However, the current interest in sex-determining mechanisms in marsupials suggests a profitable avenue for collaboration between geneticists, physiologists and evolutionary ecologists.
Full text doi:10.1071/ZO9890467
© CSIRO 1989