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A representative list of species where males mimic females

A representative list of species where males mimic females

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In diverse taxa members of one sex mimic members of the other. Some authors also hypothesize that younger or less fit individuals mimic older or fitter individuals of the same sex. The implications of sexual and age class mimicry for sexual selection theory have been underappreciated. Where deception involving the sex or age class of conspecific si...

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... Examples of this type of parasitic exploitation of informative signals abound in the literature (e.g. Batesian, aggressive and sexual mimicry, Ruxton, Sherratt, & Steed, 2004;Thornhill, 1979;Weldon & Burghardt, 1984;Whiting, Webb, & Keogh, 2009;automimicry, Brower, Pough, & Meck, 1970;Guilford, 1994), but they are frequently treated as the same kind of deceptive phenomena as the exaggeration/attenuation of signals that arises between informative senders and receivers during the evolution of most animal signals (e.g. Bradbury & Vehrencamp, 2011;Hasson, 1994;Maynard Smith & Harper, 2003). ...
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For a signalling system to be stable, signals must confer net fitness benefits to senders and receivers, which means that some aspect of their design must correlate with a quality that receivers benefit from knowing about. However, examples abound where this correlation is complicated by phenomena commonly referred to as deception and/or signal unreliability. We argue here that unreliability and deception are notions marred with conceptual ambiguities, often used as equivalent or as catch-all terms for qualitatively different processes. Signal unreliability refers to a pattern of design–information dissociation that can arise through different processes, some deceptive and some not, with different evolutionary implications. First, nondeceptive processes that are independent of sender–receiver conflict need to be explicitly recognized if we are not to overestimate the importance of deception as a driver of signal unreliability. Second, deceptive unreliability (fuelled by sender–receiver conflict) occurs through two qualitatively different processes with potentially different consequences for signal design. ‘Incomplete honesty’ is inherent to most communication systems and reflects the underlying conflict between senders and receivers that share some common ground of interests. On the other hand, categorical deception by signal parasitism evolves between senders and receivers that share no common interests, as a form of deceptive signalling that is purely contingent on the presence of already existing signals. We contend that adopting a theoretical framework explicitly based on the evolutionary scenarios leading to signal unreliability has advantages over traditional schemes focusing exclusively on whether signals benefit receivers or not.
... The deceptive tactics by males have been predicted theoretically (Johnstone & Grafen, 1993; Kokko, 1997), but only little empirical information is available (Candolin, 1999; Backwell et al., 2000). When costs to females that are deceived by cheater males are high, females may exploit counter-tactics against male deception such as discrimination against cheater males (Weldon & Burghardt, 1984; Johnstone & Grafen, 1993). These female countertactics may evoke further adaptation of males in the form of an arms race. ...
Article
Male guppies, Poecilia reticulata, exhibit two distinct types of mating behaviour, i.e., courting females for solicited copulation and sneaking behaviour for forced copulation. It is known that the frequency of these alternative mating behaviours is affected by environmental, genetic and morphological factors. We examined the influence of mate tail (caudal fin) length on the frequency of these two types of mating behaviour. Female orient responses to courting males increased according to male courtship frequency and did not differ between males with longer and shorter tails. In further mating interactions, however, females showed glide responses much more frequently to displaying males with shorter tails than to those with longer tails. Males with shorter tails performed courtships more frequently than males with longer tails. Males with longer tail, attempted sneaking (gonopodial thrusting) more often than those with shorter tails. These results indicate that male tail length determines the frequency of these alternative mating behaviour in the guppy. Assuming male long tails to be a deceptive tactic to attract females, the greater frequency of sneaking behaviour by males with longer tails to unreceptive females should be adaptive.
... Based on the appearance of the act itself and the response of males, head lifting in female A. contortrix appears to mimic the challenge display of males, although further research will be needed to test an hypothesis of intraspecific sexual mimicry (Vane-Wright 1976). Male mimicry of females, in contrast to female mimicry, appears to be rare in vertebrates (Wickler 1968;Dominey 1980;Pasteur 1982;Weldon & Burghardt 1984;Mason & Crews 1985;Robertson 1985;Brower 1988;Forsyth & Alcock 1990;Pough 1994). Within the framework of the tripartite system proposed by Vane-Wright (1976), we suggest testing the idea that the model (S 1 ) is represented by the challenge display of males, the mimic (S 2 ) is the head-lifting display of females, and the operator or dupe (R) is a courting male. ...
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Male copperheads fight for priority of access to females in the mating seasons. Fighting behaviour or combat is characterized by a prominent vertical posture (the challenge display) and a high degree of physical contact. During courtship, females frequently show a vertical posture similar to the initial stages of the challenge display of males (head lifting). To test whether head lifting influences the behaviour of courting males, three experiments were conducted. The first experiment recorded the frequency of head lifting in females during courtship and responses of males with no recent social experience to head lifting. Head lifting was frequently shown by females during courtship, and males typically responded to it by giving challenge displays. The second experiment tested responses of males that recently lost fights to head lifting. In trials where courtship occurred, head lifting repelled males in the same manner observed during subordination. The third experiment tested responses of males that recently won fights to head lifting. In these trials, males frequently challenged females that head-lifted. In all cases where males challenged females that head-lifted, fighting never occurred and all males resumed courtship. Previous work and results of this study show that head lifting is not a signal of non-receptivity, because females show receptivity (e.g. cloacal gaping) and will mate. The present results show that males of differing dominance status responded differently to head lifting. We suggest that head lifting is a mechanism of female choice involving intraspecific sexual mimicry.
... Natural selection favors those individuals that are able to increase their own fitness by manipulating the behavior of others (Dawkins and Krebs, 1978). One way to manipulate this is to convey false sexual signals to con specifics (Otte, 1975;Gross and Charnov, 1980;Weldon and Burghardt, 1984;Trivers, 1985). There has often been an im ...
Article
We present the first evidence for sexual deception by female mimicry in birds. Using live, caged birds we show that territorial male pied flycatchers behave aggressively toward bright-colored males but display sexually toward female-like male intruders. We also show that the males that are fooled are those that lack recent sexual experience. All male pied flycatchers are dull-colored in winter. It is possible that young males are more constrained during the spring molt than older males since the former are more dull-colored in spring. According to the molt-constraints hypothesis a subadult plumage would be maladaptive in the breeding season. Analysis of male settling pattern at breeding sites in spring suggests that brownish males are allowed to settle closer to already-established males than dark-colored males. This result suggests an adaptive value of having a subadult plumage color, in particular for young males arriving late from spring migration. However, we also show that mimicry incurs a cost, that of increased aggression from females, which may explain why female-like males have reduced mating success.
... To demonstrate most clearly the concepts of the good parent process, I will assume that good parent signals are not susceptible to cheating. The successful evolution of cheaters should be checked by the process of deception divergence ( Weldon & Burghardt 1984) in which non-cheaters evolve traits that distinguish them from cheaters. A low frequency of cheaters may be maintained in the population under certain conditions, but for the purposes of this paper, the assumption that signals are always honest will serve to demonstrate more clearly the concepts of the good parent process. ...
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Two general processes have been proposed to explain the evolution of epigamic traits (i.e. secondary sexual characteristics that evolve in response to mate choice). The good genes process maintains that epigamic traits may be used to assess the genetic quality of potential mates. The Fisherian process maintains that these traits can evolve without any effect beyond conferring sexual attractiveness to the bearer. A third process leading to the evolution of epigamic traits is presented here: the good parent process. Epigamic traits arise through this process by clarifying the differences in non-heritable parental quality among potential mates. The good parent process is validated by a haploid population genetic model, which further suggests that increases in the frequency of good fathers in the population and phenotypic plasticity of the trait enhance the evolution of a good parent trait. Species in which this process should be active can be identified, and data from natural populations can falsify or support the hypothesis that the good parent process dominated in the evolution of a particular epigamic trait. The three processes of epigamic trait evolution are not mutually exclusive. They may all occur in nature with different frequecies and intensities.
Article
Approximately one-quarter of all lek-breeding bird species are sexually monomorphic. Understanding the significance, if any, of this exception to the usual correlation between sexual selection and dimorphism requires detailed data on the mating systems of both monomorphic and dimorphic species. The capuchinbird (Perissocephalus tricolor) is a sexually monomorphic, lek-breeding member of the cotinga family. I studied the social and sexual behavior of this species, and compared it with the Guianan cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola rupicola), a dimorphic, lekking member of the same family. Male-male competition in capuchinbirds involved direct contests for dominance, rather than territorial displays as in classic lek species. In each year, one dominant individual was able to control the most desired display site on the 8-male lek, and was the only male that copulated. In contrast to dimorphic lek birds, female as well as male capuchinbirds engaged in frequent and intense aggression at the lek, and both males and females engaged in sexual mimicry. I suggest that plumage monomorphism in lek birds has evolved as a result of social competition affecting both sexes. This hypothesis accounts for the exaggerated plumage characters shared by males and females in capuchinbirds and a number of other monomorphic lek birds. The evolution of plumage can best be analyzed as an arms race, in which the balance of selective forces acting on each sex can produce a variety of equilibrium states, ranging from sexual indistinguishability to extreme dimorphism.
Article
I studied the sex-limited red spots on the wings of male rubyspot damselflies (Hetaerina americana) in relation to territoriality and fitness in the wild. Both observational and experimental (wing spot manipulation) studies indicated that wing spots were selected through competition among males for mating territories, not through female choice or direct competition for females. Males with naturally or artificially large wing spots were more successful at holding territories and consequently mated at higher rates than males with relatively small wing spots. In contrast, sexual selection on male body size appeared to operate among nonterritorial males at the clasping stage of the mating sequence, perhaps because larger males were better at clasping females forcibly. Of four models proposed to explain the evolution of ornaments through territory competition, only the agonistic handicap model makes predictions consistent with the results of this study.
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The present study examines the constructs of ‘deception’ and ‘mimicry’ and describe how they are related as errors committed by signal receivers, citing parallels in inter- and intraspecific interactions. Previous authors have suggested that deception embraces two types of receiver-error that can be likened to type I and type II errors encountered in statistical tests of the null hypothesis: responses to misinterpreted cues (type I error: embracing a non-existent effect) and failed responses to concealed traits of interest or undetected opportunities (type II error: failing to detect a real effect). I build upon these suggestions, co-opting the terms ‘type I and type II receiver-errors’ to denote the aforementioned kinds of deception. Type I receiver-error occurs in many cases of Batesian mimicry, bluffing, and intersexual mimicry, where members of one sex mimic members of the opposite sex. Type II receiver-error is illustrated by prey and predator crypsis and some covert (‘sneaky’) mating strategies. A third kind of receiver-error, designated type II-I, occurs when organisms are misidentified contingent upon the concealment of tell-tale features, as with cephalopods that hide select arms in visual mimetic displays. The occurrence of advantages and disadvantages for signallers and signal receivers in inter- and intraspecific deception, and in their evolutionary repercussions, are discussed. Advergence, where deceptive signallers evolve increased resemblance to honest signallers, and divergence, where honest signallers become distinct from deceptive signallers, may arise from the dynamical interactions between signallers and signal receivers. Signal senders, by definition, benefit in deception. Deceived signal receivers also may benefit in some, perhaps many, interactions. Deception and evolutionary responses to deception are abundantly represented in both inter- and intraspecific domains.
Article
I review evidence that females deceive males in the context of sexual selection and sexual conflict in the green poison frog, Dendrobates auratus. In this species, males mate polygynously when they have the opportunity, but polygyny imposes a cost on female reproductive success. Some females attempt to guard their mates when those males are approached by other females. This behavior involves both aggression toward other females and active "pseudo-courtship" of the male. This courtship is hypothesized to be a deceptive signal that functions to prevent the male from mating with other females. Observational and comparative evidence is presented in support of the predictions of this hypothesis. This form of deception is compared to similar behaviors that occur in other species, and the possibility that other forms of deception occur in poison frogs is discussed.