Selection for fixed versus plastic phenotypes. This schematic representation (inspired by [28, 30]) shows how evolved plasticity should depend on uncertainty about environmental conditions and the informativeness of cues received during development. Plasticity (dark shading) is favoured when high uncertainty about environmental conditions is combined with cues that are highly informative about those conditions; otherwise, a fixed phenotype is favoured. Note that both of these factors (uncertainty about conditions and informativeness of cues) may change during ontogeny. For example, uncertainty will tend to decrease over development (as indicated by the white block arrows), particularly if the cues received are highly informative; this will weaken the benefits of plasticity later in life (all else being equal).