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In the case of the African stalk-eyed fly, where the males are like hammer head sharks with their eyes extended on long stalks, sometimes measuring one and half times the length of their bodies, long stalks are an indicator of better genes.
In most species of social insects, such as wasps, bees, and ants, the females rule. The females are the workers.
The answer is diet. Those species with the most elaborate plumage also have the most diverse and reliable diet: a variety of insects, and fruits rich in complex nutrients. With this reliable food supply, females can raise the hatchlings without help from the males.