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Sex in the morning or in the evening?: Females adjust daily mating patterns to the intensity of sexual harassment
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
2007 (English)In: American Naturalist, ISSN 0003-0147, E-ISSN 1537-5323, Vol. 170, no 1, E1-E13 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Selection on males to mate at a higher rate than females often results in male harassment of females and counteracting female responses. When the reproductive value of copulation changes over time, these mating strategies are expected to be time dependent. Here, we demonstrate that variation in the intensity of male harassment leads to drastic changes in female daily mating patterns. In feral populations of fowl Gallus gallus domesticus, male harassment is intense, particularly in the evening when inseminations are most likely to result in fertilization. We experimentally manipulated the intensity of male harassment through similar‐sized groups of different sex ratios. Male mating propensity was always higher than females’, particularly in male‐biased groups and in the evening, when males were closer to and more likely to approach females. Females counteracted male harassment by escalating resistance to mating and—crucially—by shifting their daily mating pattern: in strongly female‐biased groups with relaxed sexual harassment, females solicited sex in the evening, while in male‐biased groups, they solicited sex in the morning, thus avoiding harassment in the evening. Together, these results indicate that intersexual conflict may occur not only over mating rates but also over when in the day to copulate.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 170, no 1, E1-E13 p.
Keyword [en]
sex ratio, optimal copulation time, polyandry, mating rates, sexual conflict, Gallus
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-24316DOI: 10.1086/518180OAI: diva2:197219
Available from: 2007-05-16 Created: 2007-05-10 Last updated: 2011-03-28Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Pre- and post-copulatory sexual selection in the fowl, Gallus gallus
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Pre- and post-copulatory sexual selection in the fowl, Gallus gallus
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The evolutionary goal of individuals is reproduction and sexual selection favours traits improving reproductive success. When males invest less than females in offspring, males have potentially a higher reproductive rate than females. This typically results in sex-specific reproductive strategies of male-male competition and female choice of mating partner. Under polyandry, sexual selection can continue after copulation as sperm competition and cryptic female choice. This thesis focuses on male and female pre- and post-copulatory reproductive strategies in the promiscuous red junglefowl, Gallus gallus ssp., and its domestic subspecies the domestic fowl, Gallus gallus domesticus. Males impose high re-mating rates on females, which triggers female resistance in copulations. In addition, when sexual harassment increases, females re-mate at times of day when male mating propensity is lower, to avoid intense sexual harassment. Males allocate sperm supplies differentially according to (i) variation in female polyandry and own competitive ability, (ii) earlier sperm investment in a female, and (iii) female reproductive quality, signalled by female comb size. Males also perform ‘aspermic’ copulations (i.e. copulations with no semen transfer), which inhibit polyandry and in turn reduce sperm competition. In mating opportunities with relatives, males do not avoid inbreeding. However, females avoid inbreeding before copulation through kin recognition and after copulation by selecting against related males’ sperm. These results show that selection on males to re-mate at higher rates than females and copulate indiscriminately according to partner relatedness, trigger counteracting female responses, creating the potential for sexual conflict over fertilisation. Teasing apart pre- and post-copulatory strategies and the contribution of each sex therefore becomes crucial in order to understand the evolution of reproductive strategies and the mechanisms affecting paternity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Zoologiska institutionen, 2007. 104 p.
cryptic female choice, Gallus, inbreeding avoidance, mate choice, sexual conflict, sexual selection, sperm competition
National Category
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-6865 (URN)978-91-7155-433-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-06-08, sal G, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 14-18, Stockholm, 09:30
Available from: 2007-05-16 Created: 2007-05-10Bibliographically approved

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