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No size-dependent reproductive costs in male black scavenger flies (Sepsis cynipsea)


Teuschl, Y; Reim, C; Blanckenhorn, Wolf U (2010). No size-dependent reproductive costs in male black scavenger flies (Sepsis cynipsea). Behavioral Ecology, 21(1):85-90.

Abstract

Mating is generally assumed to be costly, but mating costs differ between the sexes. Although mating itself is considered cheaper for males, mate search and mate competition are cheaper for females. Nevertheless, studies increasingly reveal considerable mating costs for males, and these costs should depend on the body size of the individual. We investigated size-dependent predation (ecological) and energetic (physiological) mating costs in male black scavenger flies, Sepsis cynipsea (Diptera: Sepsidae), a model organism for studies of reproductive behavior. We addressed costs of mating by assessing predation risk for differently sized flies in male, female, and mixed-sex groups. Males were not more likely to be predated in mating or mate-search situations. Scathophaga stercoraria (Diptera: Scathophagidae) predators preferred smaller females and males as prey. Male movement in these different social situations does not proximately explain this size-selective predation, as small individuals were not more mobile. We addressed energetic costs of mating by measuring residual longevity (or starvation resistance) of starved males exposed to different mating situations. Copulation, courtship, interaction with reluctant females, or brief interactions with other males, all presumably increasing energy demand, did not significantly reduce longevity of males compared with males not interacting with other individuals. In general, small males died sooner when starved. Overall, we found no direct costs of mating for male S. cynipsea, but both predation and physiological costs were size dependent.

Abstract

Mating is generally assumed to be costly, but mating costs differ between the sexes. Although mating itself is considered cheaper for males, mate search and mate competition are cheaper for females. Nevertheless, studies increasingly reveal considerable mating costs for males, and these costs should depend on the body size of the individual. We investigated size-dependent predation (ecological) and energetic (physiological) mating costs in male black scavenger flies, Sepsis cynipsea (Diptera: Sepsidae), a model organism for studies of reproductive behavior. We addressed costs of mating by assessing predation risk for differently sized flies in male, female, and mixed-sex groups. Males were not more likely to be predated in mating or mate-search situations. Scathophaga stercoraria (Diptera: Scathophagidae) predators preferred smaller females and males as prey. Male movement in these different social situations does not proximately explain this size-selective predation, as small individuals were not more mobile. We addressed energetic costs of mating by measuring residual longevity (or starvation resistance) of starved males exposed to different mating situations. Copulation, courtship, interaction with reluctant females, or brief interactions with other males, all presumably increasing energy demand, did not significantly reduce longevity of males compared with males not interacting with other individuals. In general, small males died sooner when starved. Overall, we found no direct costs of mating for male S. cynipsea, but both predation and physiological costs were size dependent.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:body size; energetic costs; food limitation; mating behavior; mortality; predation; starvation resistance
Language:English
Date:January 2010
Deposited On:16 Jul 2010 14:12
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:11
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1045-2249
Funders:Swiss National Fund ; Zoological Museum Zurich
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arp158
Other Identification Number:ISI:000272925000013

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