Sexual selection and the benefits of mating with attractive males in Drosophila simulans

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Sexual selection and the benefits of mating with attractive males in Drosophila simulans

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dc.contributor.author Taylor, Michelle Louise en_GB
dc.date.accessioned 2008-11-13T15:39:56Z en_GB
dc.date.accessioned 2011-01-25T17:25:45Z en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2013-03-21T12:59:22Z
dc.date.issued 2008-06-12 en_GB
dc.description.abstract Over the last century, sexual selection has grown from a controversial theory into a vast field of theoretical and empirical research. Although Darwin outlined two major mechanisms within his theory, male-male competition and female mate choice, the latter has promoted a wealth of research by virtue of its complexity. Despite decades of research into how female preferences and sexually selected traits have evolved, there is still little consensus as to why females prefer the males they do. Preferences are thought to evolve from either direct selection on the preference, as females themselves benefit directly from mating with a preferred male, or through indirect selection on the preference via offspring fitness. In all cases however, female preferences should compensate for the costs of discriminating between potential mates, if they are to remain overall beneficial. The fitness benefits of mating with preferred males were investigated here using the fruitfly Drosophila simulans, employing a range of behavioural, phenotypic and quantitative genetic approaches. The findings presented here indicate that female Drosophila simulans do not gain directly from mating with a preferred male. Multiple mating can increase fecundity, although costs from male harassment can reduce the net benefit. They also indicate that females may benefit indirectly from mating with attractive males as attractiveness is heritable and sons of preferred males are themselves preferred. There is also evidence that attractive males are successful in both the pre- and post-copulatory sense, as preferred males are better sperm competitors than less-preferred males. However, although there appear to be benefits from preferred males via their sons, there appear to be no benefits from males via their daughters’ fitness. These findings collectively indicate that female preferences in Drosophila simulans are driven by indirectly selected benefits (via Fisherian sons), and that females benefit directly from mating multiply. en_GB
dc.description.sponsorship The European Social Fund en_GB
dc.identifier.citation Current Biology (2007) 17: R959-960 en_GB
dc.identifier.citation Current Biology (2008) 18: R553-R554 en_GB
dc.identifier.citation Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology (2008) 62: 721-728 en_GB
dc.identifier.citation Animal Behaviour (2008) 76: 963-970 en_GB
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10036/40883 en_GB
dc.language.iso en en_GB
dc.publisher University of Exeter en_GB
dc.rights.embargoreason Last two chapters are currently under peer-review for publication. en_GB
dc.rights Transferred copyright agreements apply to the published versions of these thesis chapters, however, the thesis submitted here contains revised editions of the published chapter, which has been permitted by the copyright holders. en_GB
dc.subject sexual selection en_GB
dc.subject mate choice en_GB
dc.subject Drosophila simulans en_GB
dc.subject sperm competition en_GB
dc.title Sexual selection and the benefits of mating with attractive males in Drosophila simulans en_GB
dc.type Thesis or dissertation en_GB
dc.date.available 2008-11-13T15:39:56Z en_GB
dc.date.available 2011-01-25T17:25:45Z en_US
dc.date.available 2013-03-21T12:59:22Z
dc.contributor.advisor Hosken, David J en_GB
dc.contributor.advisor Wedell, Nina en_GB
dc.publisher.department School of Biosciences en_GB
dc.type.degreetitle PhD in Biological Sciences en_GB
dc.type.qualificationlevel Doctoral en_GB
dc.type.qualificationname PhD en_GB


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