The evolution of a quantitative genetic trait under stabilizing viability selection and sexual selection is modeled for a polygynous species in which female mating preferences are acquired by sexual imprinting on the parents and by exposure to the surviving population at large. Stabilizing viability selection acts equally on both sexes in the case of a sexually monomorphic trait and on males only in the case of a dimorphic trait. A genetically fixed sensory or perceptual bias defines the origin of the scale on which the trait is measured, and the possibility is incorporated that female preferences may deviate asymmetrically from the familiar—either toward or away from this origin. When viability selection is strong relative to sexual selection, the models predict that the mean trait value will evolve to the viability optimum. With intermediate ratios of the strength of viability to sexual selection, a stable equilibrium can occur on either side of this viability optimum, depending on the direction of asymmetry in female preferences. When viability selection is relatively weak and certain other conditions are also satisfied, runaway selection is predicted.
Corresponding Editor: M. Morgan