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Male mating constraints affect mutual mate choice: prudent male courting and sperm-limited females.

  • Roger Härdling
  • Thomas Gosden
  • Robin Aguilée
Publiceringsår: 2008
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 259-271
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: American Naturalist
Volym: 172
Nummer: 2
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: University of Chicago Press


Costs of sperm production may lead to prudence in male sperm allocation and also to male mate choice. Here, we develop a life history-based mutual mate choice model that takes into account the lost-opportunity costs for males from time out in sperm recovery and lets mate competition be determined by the prevailing mate choice strategies. We assume that high mating rate may potentially lead to sperm depletion in males, and that as a result, female reproduction may be limited by the availability of sperm. Increasing variation in male quality leads, in general, to increased selective mate choice by females, and vice versa. Lower-quality males may, however, gain access to more fecund higher-quality females by lowering their courting rate, thus increasing their sperm reserves. When faced with strong male competition for mates, low-quality males become less choosy, which leads to assortative mating for quality and an increased mating rate across all males. With assortative mating, the frequency of antagonistic interactions (sexual conflict) is reduced, allowing males to lower the time spent replenishing sperm reserves in order to increase mating rate. This in turn leads to lower sperm levels at mating and therefore could lead to negative effects on female fitness via sperm limitation.


  • Biological Sciences
  • sexual conflict
  • male-male competition
  • mating costs
  • sperm depletion
  • mutual mate choice


  • ISSN: 0003-0147

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