The evolution of female ornaments revisited: review and prospects for the future (#807)
The evolution of conspicuous traits that males of a variety of animal species exhibit is now well established to be driven primarily via sexual selection. By contrast, female elaborate ornamentation has received much less attention, yet in many species, females are as ornamented as males. The conventional view that female ornamentation served no function has been challenged by different hypothesis of a direct selection favouring female trait expression such as sexual or non-sexual selective processes (social selection). However, the currently understanding remains limited. We present a review of significant advances made in the study of female ornamentation and identify what remains in the study. We also highlight the importance of more empirical studies to understand which processes are maintaining the expression of female traits. We suggest a framework approach to test this, giving an outline of a proposed PhD research in the Lovely fairy-wrens (Malurus amabilis).