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Worthless and nutritive nuptial 1 gifts: mating duration, sperm stored and potential female decisions in spiders

By María J. Albo and Alfredo Vicente Peretti

Abstract

In nuptial gift-giving species females sometimes select their potential mates based on the presence and size of the gift. But in some species, such as the Neotropical polyandrous spider Paratrechalea ornate male gifts vary in quality, from nutritive to worthless, and this male strategy can be in conflict with female nutritional benefits. In this species, males without gifts experience a reduction in mating success and duration, while males that offer worthless or genuine nutritive gifts mate with similar frequencies and durations. The female apparently controls the duration of copulation. Thus, there is scope for females to favour males offering gifts and further if these are nutritious, via post-copulatory processes. We first tested whether females differentially store sperm from males that offer the highest nutritional benefits by experimentally presenting females with males that offer either nutritive or worthless gifts (uninterrupted matings). Second, we carried out another set of experiments to examine whether females can select sperm based only on gift presence. This time we interrupted matings after the first pedipalp insertion, thus matching number of insertions and mating duration for males that: offered and did not offer gift. Our results showed that the amount of sperm stored is positive related to mating duration in all groups, except in matings with worthless gifts. Gift presence itself did not affect the sperm stored by females, while they store similar number of sperm in matings with males offering either nutritive or worthless gifts. We discuss whether females prefer males with gifts regardless, if content, because it represents an attractive and/or reliable signal. Or alternatively, they prefer nutritive nuptial gifts, as they are an important source of food supply and/or signal of male donor ability.Fil: Albo, María J.. Instituto de Invest. Biologicas "clemente Estable"; UruguayFil: Peretti, Alfredo Vicente. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas y Tecnicas. Centro Cientifico Tecnologico Cordoba. Instituto de Diversidad y Ecologia Animal; Argentin

Topics: cryptic female choice, male deception, Paratrechalea ornata, sperm count, Biología, Ciencias Biológicas, CIENCIAS NATURALES Y EXACTAS
Publisher: Public Library Of Science
Year: 2016
DOI identifier: 10.1371/journal.pone.0129453
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