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Conflict between direct and indirect benefits of female choice in desert Drosophila

By Elen Oneal, Tim Connallon and L Lacey Knowles


Identifying the factors that contribute to the adaptive significance of mating preferences is one major goal of evolutionary research and is largely unresolved. Both direct and indirect benefits can contribute to mate choice evolution. Failure to consider the interaction between individual consequences of mate choice may obscure the opposing effects of individual costs and benefits. We investigate direct and indirect fitness effects of female choice in a desert fly (Drosophila mojavensis), a species where mating confers resistance to desiccation stress. Females prefer males that provide a direct benefit: greater resistance to desiccation stress. Mating preferences also appear to have indirect consequences: daughters of preferred males have lower reproductive success than daughters of unpreferred males, although additional experimentation will be needed to determine if the indirect consequences of female preferences actually arise from ‘sexually antagonistic’ variation. Nevertheless, the results are intriguing and are consistent with the hypothesis that an interaction between direct and indirect benefits maintains sexually antagonistic variation in these desert flies: increased desiccation resistance conferred by mating might offset the cost of producing low-fecundity daughters

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: The Royal Society
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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