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Male attractiveness is negatively genetically associated with investment in copulations

  • Leif Engqvist
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    In species with high male mating effort, there is a trade-off between mating effort spent in a current mating and resources left for future matings. Males are therefore expected to allocate resources prudently across successive matings. Attractive males that will have a high mating success might therefore be forced to decrease mating investment in comparison with less-attractive males. Furthermore, if there is genetic variation in attractiveness, one might expect to find a negative genetic correlation between attractiveness and mating investment. Here, this genetic prediction is tested using the scorpionfly Panorpa cognata (Insecta: Mecoptera). In this species, males offer costly salivary secretions as nuptial gifts to females. By producing large secretions, males increase copulation duration and sperm transfer, thus gaining an advantage in sperm competition. I used a full-sib breeding design and found that both attractiveness and mating investment showed considerable heritability. Most importantly, there was a significant negative genetic correlation between attractiveness and mating investment: In families with attractive individuals, males produced smaller salivary secretions than in those with less-attractive males. The results thus demonstrate an important evolutionary trade-off between mating success and sperm competition success. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/beheco/arq211
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    Article provided by International Society for Behavioral Ecology in its journal Behavioral Ecology.

    Volume (Year): 22 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 345-349

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:2:p:345-349
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