Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

The Coolidge effect, individual recognition and selection for distinctive cuticular signatures in a burying beetle


Steiger, S; Franz, R; Eggert, A K; Müller, J K (2008). The Coolidge effect, individual recognition and selection for distinctive cuticular signatures in a burying beetle. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 275(1645):1831-1838.

Abstract

The ability to recognize individuals is an important aspect of social interactions, but it can also be useful to
avoid repeated matings with the same individual. The Coolidge effect is the progressive decline in a male’s
propensity to mate with the same female combined with a heightened sexual interest in new females.
Although males that recognize previous par tners and show a preference for novel females should have a
selective advantage as they can distribute sperm evenly among the females they encounter, there are few
invertebrate examples of the Coolidge effect. Here we present evidence for this effect in the burying beetle
Nicrophor us vespilloides and examine the mechanism underlying the discrimination between familiar and
novel mates. Burying beetles feed and reproduce on vertebrate carcasses, where they regularly encounter
conspecifics. Males showed greater sexual interest in novel females (virgin or mated) than in females they
had inseminated before. The application of identical cuticular extracts allowed us to experimentally create
females with similar odours, and male responses to such females demonstrated that they use female
cuticular patterns for discrimination. The chemical analysis of the cuticular profile revealed greater inter-
individual variation in female than in male cuticular patterns, which might be due to greater selection on
females to signal their individual identity.

Abstract

The ability to recognize individuals is an important aspect of social interactions, but it can also be useful to
avoid repeated matings with the same individual. The Coolidge effect is the progressive decline in a male’s
propensity to mate with the same female combined with a heightened sexual interest in new females.
Although males that recognize previous par tners and show a preference for novel females should have a
selective advantage as they can distribute sperm evenly among the females they encounter, there are few
invertebrate examples of the Coolidge effect. Here we present evidence for this effect in the burying beetle
Nicrophor us vespilloides and examine the mechanism underlying the discrimination between familiar and
novel mates. Burying beetles feed and reproduce on vertebrate carcasses, where they regularly encounter
conspecifics. Males showed greater sexual interest in novel females (virgin or mated) than in females they
had inseminated before. The application of identical cuticular extracts allowed us to experimentally create
females with similar odours, and male responses to such females demonstrated that they use female
cuticular patterns for discrimination. The chemical analysis of the cuticular profile revealed greater inter-
individual variation in female than in male cuticular patterns, which might be due to greater selection on
females to signal their individual identity.

Statistics

Citations

52 citations in Web of Science®
53 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

308 downloads since deposited on 07 Jan 2009
45 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:22 August 2008
Deposited On:07 Jan 2009 15:21
Last Modified:06 Dec 2017 16:22
Publisher:Royal Society of London
ISSN:0962-8452
Additional Information:Persons who receive the PDF must not make it further available or distribute it.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2008.0375
PubMed ID:18477544

Download