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Male fiddler crabs prefer conspecific females during simultaneous, but not sequential, mate choice

Booksmythe, Isobel; Jennions, Michael; Backwell, Patricia

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Mate choice is potentially beneficial whenever prospective mates vary in quality, but when mates are encountered sequentially the cost of rejecting a current mating opportunity affects the net benefit of choosiness by lowering the mating rate. There is, however, no reduction in mating rate when choosing among potential mates that are encountered simultaneously. In general, mating with a heterospecific is costly as the resultant offspring are of low fitness. It is often argued that males, unlike...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorBooksmythe, Isobel
dc.contributor.authorJennions, Michael
dc.contributor.authorBackwell, Patricia
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-10T23:26:02Z
dc.identifier.issn0003-3472
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/67601
dc.description.abstractMate choice is potentially beneficial whenever prospective mates vary in quality, but when mates are encountered sequentially the cost of rejecting a current mating opportunity affects the net benefit of choosiness by lowering the mating rate. There is, however, no reduction in mating rate when choosing among potential mates that are encountered simultaneously. In general, mating with a heterospecific is costly as the resultant offspring are of low fitness. It is often argued that males, unlike females, will court and even mate with heterospecifics because the lost opportunity cost is minimal if they rarely encounter potential mates. In the fiddler crab Uca mjoebergi, we show that, in a natural situation, where females arrived sequentially males were equally likely to court conspecifics and heterospecifics. Females were released individually into the population, and nearly every male they passed performed a courtship waving display whether the female was conspecific or heterospecific. Taken alone, this result implies that males exhibit no species discrimination. However, in an experimental setting where males simultaneously viewed a conspecific and a heterospecific female, males waved faster and for longer at conspecific females, and attempted to mate more often with conspecifics. This indicates that U. mjoebergi males can discriminate between conspecific and heterospecific females and prefer to court conspecifics when given a choice. We used mate choice among rather than within species (to maximize variation in mate quality) to illustrate the need to distinguish between simultaneous and sequential mate choice when quantifying mating preferences.
dc.publisherAcademic Press
dc.sourceAnimal Behaviour
dc.subjectKeywords: conspecific; crab; display behavior; encounter rate; fitness; male behavior; mate choice; mate recognition; reproductive cost; Decapoda (Crustacea); Ocypodidae; Uca Fiddler crab; Male mate choice; Mate discrimination; Sequential mate choice; Species recognition; Uca
dc.titleMale fiddler crabs prefer conspecific females during simultaneous, but not sequential, mate choice
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume81
dc.date.issued2011
local.identifier.absfor060201 - Behavioural Ecology
local.identifier.ariespublicationf2965xPUB1485
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationBooksmythe, Isobel, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationJennions, Michael, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationBackwell, Patricia, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage775
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage778
local.identifier.doi10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.01.009
local.identifier.absseo970106 - Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T08:14:27Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-79952736211
local.identifier.thomsonID000288651200013
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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