Article

The Indirect Benefits of Mating with Attractive Males Outweigh the Direct Costs

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. <>
PLoS Biology (Impact Factor: 11.77). 03/2005; 3(2):e33. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0030033
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The fitness consequences of mate choice are a source of ongoing debate in evolutionary biology. Recent theory predicts that indirect benefits of female choice due to offspring inheriting superior genes are likely to be negated when there are direct costs associated with choice, including any costs of mating with attractive males. To estimate the fitness consequences of mating with males of varying attractiveness, we housed female house crickets, Acheta domesticus, with either attractive or unattractive males and measured a variety of direct and indirect fitness components. These fitness components were combined to give relative estimates of the number of grandchildren produced and the intrinsic rate of increase (relative net fitness). We found that females mated to attractive males incur a substantial survival cost. However, these costs are cancelled out and may be outweighed by the benefits of having offspring with elevated fitness. This benefit is due predominantly, but not exclusively, to the effect of an increase in sons' attractiveness. Our results suggest that the direct costs that females experience when mating with attractive males can be outweighed by indirect benefits. They also reveal the value of estimating the net fitness consequences of a mating strategy by including measures of offspring quality in estimates of fitness.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Robert C Brooks, Jun 28, 2015
0 Followers
 · 
114 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We tested whether territorial defence is adaptive in male collared lizards by examining the extent to which territory owners monopolize females. We also tested whether females benefit by mating with multiple males using alternative tactics when local sex ratios varied. Surprisingly, neither the number of offspring that males sired, nor the number of females that males mated with varied as a consequence of highly variable local sex ratios. Moreover, both the number of offspring sired and the number of female mates were independent of male social status. Courtship frequency was under positive directional sexual selection for mating success for territorial males. None of the phenotypic traits that we examined were targets of sexual selection in nonterritorial males. Although offspring survivorship decreased with the degree of multiple mating, females mated multiply with similar numbers of territorial and nonterritorial males during all three seasons. Females did not obtain material or genetic benefits that balanced the apparent offspring survival cost imposed by mating with multiple males. Instead, females appeared to be ‘making the best of a bad job’, perhaps because the abundance of hiding places used by subordinate males makes it difficult for females to avoid male harassment. © 2015 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2015, ●●, ●●–●●.
    Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 04/2015; 115(2). DOI:10.1111/bij.12514 · 2.54 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We tested whether territorial defence is adaptive in male collared lizards by examining the extent to which territory owners monopolize females. We also tested whether females benefit by mating with multiple males using alternative tactics when local sex ratios varied. Surprisingly, neither the number of offspring that males sired, nor the number of females that males mated with varied as a consequence of highly variable local sex ratios. Moreover, both the number of offspring sired and the number of female mates were independent of male social status. Courtship frequency was under positive directional sexual selection for mating success for territorial males. None of the phenotypic traits that we examined were targets of sexual selection in nonterritorial males. Although offspring survivorship decreased with the degree of multiple mating, females mated multiply with similar numbers of territorial and nonterritorial males during all three seasons. Females did not obtain material or genetic benefits that balanced the apparent offspring survival cost imposed by mating with multiple males. Instead, females appeared to be 'making the best of a bad job', perhaps because the abundance of hiding places used by subordinate males makes it difficult for females to avoid male harassment.
    Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 03/2015; · 2.54 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In species where females gain a nutritious nuptial gift during mating the balance between benefits and costs of mating may depend on access to food. This means that there is not one optimal number of matings for the female but a range of optimal mating numbers. With increasing food availability the optimal number of matings for a female should vary from the number necessary only for fertilization of her eggs to the number needed also for producing these eggs. In three experimental series the average number of matings for females of the nuptial gift-giving spider Pisaura mirabilis before egg-sac construction varied from 2 to 16 with food-limited females generally accepting more matings than well-fed females. Minimal level of optimal mating number for females at satiation feeding conditions was predicted to be 2-3; in an experimental test the median number was 2 (range 0-4). Multiple mating gave benefits in terms of increased fecundity and increased egg hatching success up to the third mating, and it had costs in terms of reduced fecundity, reduced egg hatching success after the third mating, and lower offspring size. The level of polyandry seems to vary with the female optimum, regulated by a satiation-dependent resistance to mating, potentially leaving satiated females in life-long virginity.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Evolutionary Biology 01/2015; 28(2). DOI:10.1111/jeb.12581 · 3.48 Impact Factor