IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Costly interactions between the sexes: combined effects of male sexual harassment and female choice?

Listed author(s):
  • Michael Tobler
  • Ingo Schlupp
  • Martin Plath
Registered author(s):

    Male and female interests can differ profoundly regarding quality and quantity of mates. Especially in promiscuous mating systems, males often inflict costs on females that may precipitate in negative fitness consequences. In reality, however, discerning between female costs arising from a sexual conflict and costs arising from female mate choice is not trivial. In livebearing fishes, for example, costs of male sexual harassment are often quantified as female feeding time reductions, but female feeding times may also be affected by competitive interactions and the willingness of females to interact with a particular mate (i.e., mate choice). Using the tropical live-bearer Poecilia mexicana as a model, we manipulated male and female nutritional state and measured focal females' feeding times in presence of another female as well as in presence of males of varying quality. Consistent with other studies quantifying effects of male harassment, female feeding times were negatively affected by sexually active males. Also, females were feeding more in presence of starved males than in presence of well-fed males. In subsequent dichotomous choice tests, females preferred to associate with well-fed females. These results are not consistent with the sexual conflict hypothesis: If the reduced female feeding time in presence of a well-fed male were solely a cost imposed by the male, females would be expected to avoid such males in a choice situation. Consequently, our study suggests that both male sexual harassment and active female choice simultaneously affect female feeding times in livebearing fishes. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by International Society for Behavioral Ecology in its journal Behavioral Ecology.

    Volume (Year): 22 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 723-729

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:4:p:723-729
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK

    Fax: 01865 267 985
    Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:4:p:723-729. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press)

    or (Christopher F. Baum)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.