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Sexual conflict and ecology : Species composition and male density interact to reduce male mating harassment and increase female survival

Gomez-Llano, Miguel A. LU ; Bensch, Hanna M. and Svensson, Erik I. LU (2018) In Evolution 72(4). p.906-915
Abstract

Sexual conflict is a pervasive evolutionary force that can reduce female fitness. Experimental evolution studies in the laboratory might overestimate the importance of sexual conflict because the ecological conditions in such settings typically include only a single species. Here, we experimentally manipulated conspecific male density (high or low) and species composition (sympatric or allopatric) to investigate how ecological conditions affect female survival in a sexually dimorphic insect, the banded demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens). Female survival was strongly influenced by an interaction between male density and species composition. Specifically, at low conspecific male density, female survival increased in the presence of... (More)

Sexual conflict is a pervasive evolutionary force that can reduce female fitness. Experimental evolution studies in the laboratory might overestimate the importance of sexual conflict because the ecological conditions in such settings typically include only a single species. Here, we experimentally manipulated conspecific male density (high or low) and species composition (sympatric or allopatric) to investigate how ecological conditions affect female survival in a sexually dimorphic insect, the banded demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens). Female survival was strongly influenced by an interaction between male density and species composition. Specifically, at low conspecific male density, female survival increased in the presence of heterospecific males (C. virgo). Behavioral mating experiments showed that interspecific interference competition reduced conspecific male mating success with large females. These findings suggest that reproductive interference competition between con- and heterospecific males might indirectly facilitate female survival by reducing mating harassment from conspecific males. Hence, interspecific competitors can show contrasting effects on the two sexes thereby influencing sexual conflict dynamics. Our results call for incorporation of more ecological realism in sexual conflict research, particularly how local community context and reproductive interference competition between heterospecific males can affect female fitness.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Community ecology, Facilitation, Indirect ecological effects, Interspecific competition, Male mating harassment, Reproductive interference, Sexual conflict
in
Evolution
volume
72
issue
4
pages
906 - 915
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • scopus:85043693997
ISSN
0014-3820
DOI
10.1111/evo.13457
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
abcd2c0a-537d-49d9-bfab-453ea3d2eb09
date added to LUP
2018-03-27 15:58:54
date last changed
2019-01-14 17:30:35
@article{abcd2c0a-537d-49d9-bfab-453ea3d2eb09,
  abstract     = {<p>Sexual conflict is a pervasive evolutionary force that can reduce female fitness. Experimental evolution studies in the laboratory might overestimate the importance of sexual conflict because the ecological conditions in such settings typically include only a single species. Here, we experimentally manipulated conspecific male density (high or low) and species composition (sympatric or allopatric) to investigate how ecological conditions affect female survival in a sexually dimorphic insect, the banded demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens). Female survival was strongly influenced by an interaction between male density and species composition. Specifically, at low conspecific male density, female survival increased in the presence of heterospecific males (C. virgo). Behavioral mating experiments showed that interspecific interference competition reduced conspecific male mating success with large females. These findings suggest that reproductive interference competition between con- and heterospecific males might indirectly facilitate female survival by reducing mating harassment from conspecific males. Hence, interspecific competitors can show contrasting effects on the two sexes thereby influencing sexual conflict dynamics. Our results call for incorporation of more ecological realism in sexual conflict research, particularly how local community context and reproductive interference competition between heterospecific males can affect female fitness.</p>},
  author       = {Gomez-Llano, Miguel A. and Bensch, Hanna M. and Svensson, Erik I.},
  issn         = {0014-3820},
  keyword      = {Community ecology,Facilitation,Indirect ecological effects,Interspecific competition,Male mating harassment,Reproductive interference,Sexual conflict},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {03},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {906--915},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Evolution},
  title        = {Sexual conflict and ecology : Species composition and male density interact to reduce male mating harassment and increase female survival},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/evo.13457},
  volume       = {72},
  year         = {2018},
}