Mating system and brain size in bats

Scott Pitnick, Kate E. Jones, Gerald S. Wilkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


The contribution of sexual selection to brain evolution has been little investigated. Through comparative analyses of bats, we show that multiple mating by males, in the absence of multiple mating by females, has no evolutionary impact on relative brain dimension. In contrast, bat species with promiscuous females have relatively smaller brains than do species with females exhibiting mate fidelity. This pattern may be a consequence of the demonstrated negative evolutionary relationship between investment in testes and investment in brains, both metabolically expensive tissues. These results have implications for understanding the correlated evolution of brains, behaviour and extravagant sexually selected traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)719-724
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1587
StatePublished - Mar 22 2006


  • Brain
  • Chiroptera
  • Cognition
  • Neocortex
  • Sexual selection
  • Testes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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