The evolution of courtship behaviour often requires specializations of neural, sensory and motor systems. In addition, optimized metabolic, respiratory and cardiovascular systems may be required to sustain the neuromuscular demands. However, physiological specializations for one function can create limits on their use for other purposes. Such trade-offs may influence the way courtship develops but may also provide information used by females for mate choice. We review this body of work with an eye towards expanding our appreciation of the evolution of widespread tissue hormone sensitivity and hormone action as the system through which elaborate courtship behaviours evolve.
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