The Trivers–Willard hypothesis has commonly been considered to predict two things. First, that a mother in good condition should bias the sex ratio of her offspring towards males (if males exhibit greater variation in reproductive value). Second, that a mother in good condition should invest more per son than per daughter. These two predictions differ empirically, mechanistically and, as we demonstrate here, theoretically too. We construct a simple model of sex allocation that allows simultaneous analysis of both versions of the Trivers–Willard hypothesis. We show that the sex ratio version holds under very general conditions, being valid for a large class of male and female fitness functions. The investment version, on the other hand, is shown to hold only for a small subset of male and female fitness functions. Our results help to make sense of the observation that the sex ratio version is empirically more successful than the investment version.
- Received January 19, 2016.
- Accepted April 18, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.