Natural selection drives the link between male immune function and reproductive potential

Kenneth M. Fedorka, Marlene Zuk, Timothy A. Mousseau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the ground cricket Allonemobius socius (Scudder 1877), males provide females with a hemolymph-based nuptial gift. The size of the gift depends on when copulation is terminated, which can be controlled by either sex. Here we show that more immunocompetent males provide larger nuptial gifts, increasing their reproductive potential. To address if this pattern was the consequence of sexual selection for an honest signal (i.e., females assess mate immune quality through the hemolymph), we examined which sex controlled gift size. We found that the probability that males initiated the end of copulation increased when gift size was small (stereotypical of less immunocompetent males). Thus, early termination of copulation was the consequence of male behavior, suggesting that the association between immunocompetence and gift size was not due to sexual selection, but to natural selection for male vigor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1012-1014
Number of pages3
JournalCanadian Journal of Zoology
Volume83
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2005

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