Why do multiple traits determine mating success? Differential use in female choice and male competition in a water boatman

  • Candolin U
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Mating success is often determined by multiple traits, but why this occurs is largely unknown. Much attention has been paid to female preferences for multiple traits, but surprisingly few researchers have addressed the possibility that multiple traits are important because they serve different functions in female choice and male-male competition. Differential trait function could result from a conflict of interest between the sexes or from constraints forcing the sexes to pay attention to different traits. I show that traits determined at distinct life-history stages differ in their importance in female choice and male-male competition in a water boatman Sigara falleni. Juvenile conditions determined body and foreleg pala size and were the main determinants of mating success under female choice, whereas adult conditions determined body mass and influenced mating success when male competition was included. This differential use of condition-dependent traits under the two selection regimes appeared to arise partly from a conflict between the sexes, since the two selection forces (female choice and male competition) conflict for selection on pala size, and partly from constraints, as females appeared unable to assess adult condition.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Corixidae
  • Sigara falleni
  • care
  • condition dependence
  • dominant males
  • evolution
  • lek paradox
  • mate choice
  • multiple cues
  • ornaments
  • preferences
  • selection
  • sexual
  • sexual selection
  • sticklebacks
  • trade-off

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  • U Candolin

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