Model systems, taxonomic bias, and sexual selection: Beyond drosophila

Marlene Zuk, Francisco Garcia-Gonzalez, Marie Elisabeth Herberstein, Leigh W. Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Although model systems are useful in entomology, allowing generalizations based on a few well-known species, they also have drawbacks. It can be difficult to know how far to generalize from information in a few species: Are all flies like Drosophila? The use of model systems is particularly problematic in studying sexual selection, where variability among taxa is key to the evolution of different behaviors. A bias toward the use of a few insect species, particularly from the genus Drosophila, is evident in the sexual selection and sexual conflict literature over the past several decades, although the diversity of study organisms has increased more recently. As the number of model systems used to study sexual conflict increased, support for the idea that sexual interactions resulted in harm to females decreased. Future work should choose model systems thoughtfully, combining well-known species with those that can add to the variation that allows us to make more meaningful generalizations. ©

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-338
Number of pages18
JournalAnnual review of entomology
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Bateman principle
  • Callosobruchus
  • Scatophaga
  • Sexual conflict
  • Tribolium


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