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: 9.34). 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.

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    • "Following Shackleton, Jennions & Hunt (2005) we determined male attractiveness by conducting a four-round no-choice tournament that indexed male attractiveness based on the time that elapsed until a female mounted them. Studies have traditionally used a single trait to assess male attractiveness in crickets (Heisler, 1985; Wedell & Tregenza, 1999) but a no-choice tournament is a superior approach because it simultaneously incorporates all relevant factors contributing to short-range male attractiveness (Head et al., 2005; Shackleton, Jennions & Hunt, 2005; Bussiere et al., 2006). For example, several studies on crickets have shown that male attractiveness is unrelated to body size or measures of body condition only (e.g., Simmons, 1987b; Gray & Eckhardt, 2001; Shackleton, Jennions & Hunt, 2005). "
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    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · PeerJ
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    • "Latency to mating and male mating success was considered as female preference measures (Narraway et al., 2010). These measures are for all traits that confer attractiveness to a mate (Head et al., 2005). As genetic quality can affect mating success by its effect on general activity of males (Whitlock & Agrawal, 2009), we measured different aspects of mating behavior which include activity of males: courtship occurrence, courtship latency, latency to mating and duration of mating. "
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    • "The possible adaptive significance for females of mating with multiple males remains a topic of debate (Uller & Olsson, 2008; Madsen, 2011; Keogh et al., 2013; Noble, Keogh & Whiting, 2013). Females may mate with multiple males to acquire material and/or genetic benefits (Jennions & Petrie, 2000; Head et al., 2005; Slatyer et al., 2011). There is little evidence that the acquisition of material benefits explains multiple mating by female collared lizards because the resources that they require to produce eggs (foraging perches, arthropod prey, refuges) are not limiting in our population, and neither sex provides parental care (Baird & Sloan, 2003). "
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    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, ●●, ●●–●●.
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