Sex allocation is a crucial life-history parameter in all sexual organisms. Over the last decades a body of evolutionary theory, sex allocation theory, was developed, which has yielded capital insight into the evolution of optimal sex allocation patterns and adaptive evolution in general. Most empirical work, however, has focused on species with separate sexes. Here I review sex allocation theory for simultaneous hermaphrodites and summarize over 50 empirical studies, which have aimed at evaluating this theory in a diversity of simultaneous hermaphrodites spanning nine animal phyla. These studies have yielded considerable qualitative support for several predictions of sex allocation theory, such as a female-biased sex allocation when the number of mates is limited, and a shift toward a more male-biased sex allocation with increasing numbers of mates. In contrast, many fundamental assumptions, such as the trade-off between male and female allocation, and numerous predictions, such as brooding limiting the returns from female allocation, are still poorly supported. Measuring sex allocation in simultaneously hermaphroditic animals remains experimentally demanding, which renders evaluation of more quantitative predictions a challenging task. I identify the main questions that need to be addressed and point to promising avenues for future research.
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Vol. 63 • No. 6