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Male mating costs in a polygynous mosquito with ornaments expressed in both sexes

Summary: Male mating costs in a polygynous mosquito
with ornaments expressed in both sexes
Sandra H. South*, Dianna Steiner and Go¨ran Arnqvist
Animal Ecology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University,
Norbyva¨gen 18D, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden
Male mate choice in species with conventional sex roles is difficult to explain and has, therefore, been the
focus of many recent theoretical models. These models have focused on variance in female quality and, to
a lesser extent, male investments/costs associated with mating. In this study, we investigate the costs of
courtship and copulation in the polygynous mosquito Sabethes cyaneus. In this species, both males and
females possess elaborate ornaments. Previous studies suggest that the most likely explanation for the
presence of these ornaments is mutual mate choice. Thus, this system provides an excellent model for
exploring the evolution of mutual mate choice in polygynous species. We disentangle the costs of
courtship and copulation by monitoring male survival in three groups of males: housed alone (group 1);
able only to court females (group 2); or able to court and copulate with females (group 3). We show
that males incur a cost of courtship and copulation and that courtship intensity is negatively related to
male longevity. Our results suggest that courtship and copulation carry additive costs to males. We
discuss the implications of these results in the context of current mutual mate choice theory and suggest
that courtship costs may be an unappreciated key factor in the evolution of male mate choice.
Keywords: Culicidae; Diptera; mutual mate choice; sex roles; sexual selection


Source: Arnqvist, Göran - Department of Animal Ecology, Uppsala Universitet


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology