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Food limitation causes female haglids to mate more often

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Abstract:

Sexual conflict over mating rate has selected for male adaptations to induce females to mate. These inducements can be either coercive or enticing, and there is a growing realization that males of a given species may employ both tactics simultaneously to acquire mating success. Insects in the genus Cyphoderris Uhler, 1864 (Orthoptera: Haglidae) have a unique breeding system in which females feed on the fleshy hind wings of males during copulation, but as mating proceeds males use a specialized abdominal pinching organ known as a gin trap to hold the female until she copulates with him. Previous research has demonstrated the coercive nature of the gin trap, but evidence for a beneficial effect of hind-wing feeding is lacking. Here we tested whether hind-wing feeding provides material benefits to females by manipulating females’ access to nutrition—food restricted or ad lib food—and then providing females with four opportunities to mate over 8 days. As predicted, food-restricted females were more likely to feed on male hind wings, did more hind-wing damage, and were more likely to copulate with males than females provided ad lib food. We discuss these results in the context of the evolution of polyandry and sexual conflict.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/z11-078

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, University of Toronto Mississauga, 3359 Mississauga Road, Mississauga, ON L5L 1C6, Canada. 2: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough, 1265 Military Trail, Scarborough, ON M1C 1A4, Canada.

Publication date: October 27, 2011

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