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Density-dependent male mating harassment, female resistance, and male mimicry.

  • Thomas Gosden
  • Erik Svensson
Publishing year: 2009
Language: English
Pages: 709-721
Publication/Series: American Naturalist
Volume: 173
Issue: 6
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract english

Genetic variation in female resistance and tolerance to male mating harassment can affect the outcome of sexually antagonistic mating interactions. We investigated female mating rates and male mating harassment in natural populations of a damselfly (Ischnura elegans). This damselfly species has a heritable sex-limited polymorphism in females, where one of the morphs is a male mimic (androchrome females). The three female morphs differ in mating rates, and these differences are stable across populations and years. However, the degree of premating resistance toward male mating attempts varied across generations and populations. Male mating harassment of the female morphs changed in a density-dependent fashion, suggesting that male mate preferences are plastic and vary with the different morph densities. We quantified morph differences in male mating harassment and female fecundity, using path analysis and structural equation modeling. We found variation between the morphs in the fitness consequences of mating, with the fecundity of one of the nonmimetic morphs declining with increasing male mating harassment. However, androchrome females had lower overall fecundity, presumably reflecting a cost of male mimicry. Density-dependent male mating harassment on the morphs and fecundity costs of male mimicry are thus likely to contribute to the maintenance of this female polymorphism.


  • Biological Sciences


  • ISSN: 0003-0147
E-mail: erik [dot] svensson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Evolutionary ecology

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