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Copulatory courtship and cryptic female choice in red our beetles Tribolium castaneum

Summary: Copulatory courtship and cryptic female choice
in red our beetles Tribolium castaneum
Martin Edvardsson and GÎran Arnqvist*
Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Section of Animal Ecology, University of UmeÔ, SE-901 87 UmeÔ, Sweden
Males of many animal species engage in courtship behaviours during and after copulation that appear to
be solely aimed at stimulating the female. It has been suggested that these behaviours have evolved by
cryptic female choice, whereby females are thought to impose biases on male postmating paternity
success. Males of the red £our beetle Tribolium castaneum rub the lateral edges of the females' elytra with
their tarsi during copulation. We manipulated female perception of this behaviour by tarsal ablation in
males, thus preventing males from reaching the edge of the female elytra with their manipulated legs,
and by subsequently performing a series of double-mating experiments where the copulatory behaviour
was quanti¢ed. We found a positive relationship between the intensity of the copulatory courtship
behaviour and relative fertilization success among unmanipulated males. This pattern, however, was
absent in manipulated males, where female perception of male behaviour di¡ered from that actually
performed. Thus, female perception of male copulatory courtship behaviour, rather than male behaviour
per se, apparently governs the fate of sperm competing over fertilizations within the female, showing that
copulatory courtship is under selection by cryptic female choice.
Keywords: copulatory courtship; cryptic female choice; £our beetles; sexual selection;
sperm precedence;Tribolium castaneum


Source: Arnqvist, Göran - Department of Animal Ecology, Uppsala Universitet
Higgie, Megan - School of Botany and Zoology, Australian National University


Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology