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An ESS Treatment of the Pattern of Female Arrival at the Mating Site in the Yellow Dung FlyScathophaga stercoraria (L.)


Reuter, Max; Ward, Paul I; Blanckenhorn, Wolf U (1998). An ESS Treatment of the Pattern of Female Arrival at the Mating Site in the Yellow Dung FlyScathophaga stercoraria (L.). Journal of Theoretical Biology, 195(3):363-370.

Abstract

In most previous work on the yellow dung flyScathophaga stercoraria(L.), as on other species, adaptive explanations have been sought for male behaviour whereas female behaviour has not been examined in similar detail. Here, the arrival of females at the mating site, fresh cattle droppings, is investigated. While almost all males are present shortly after pat deposition females arrive at a low, decreasing rate over an interval of about 5 hours. We propose that the distribution of female arrival times represents a mixed Evolutionarily Stable Strategy (ESS), formed by different trade-offs between costs and benefits of early and late arrival. Early arrival could be favoured by advantages due to better conditions for oviposition, faster egg development of reduced larval competition. Late arrival could be favoured by negative effects on females of male—male competition being weaker later after deposition. Computer simulations with distributions of arrival times deviating from the natural one were performed to “measure” the costs for females arriving at different times. These costs were compared with estimated benefits corresponding to the females' arrival times. This procedure revealed that females coming to the pat later in a population of females arriving shortly after deposition would be favoured. In a population arriving according to a uniform distribution, early females would have fitness advantages. Thus, evolution should lead to an intermediate distribution of arrival times, as in nature, i.e. female arrival behaviour is probably adaptive. The simulations also revealed that the intensity of sexual selection though male–male competition is highest with the natural pattern of female arrival. Therefore, natural selection generating this pattern amplifies the intensity of male–male interaction as a by-product.

Abstract

In most previous work on the yellow dung flyScathophaga stercoraria(L.), as on other species, adaptive explanations have been sought for male behaviour whereas female behaviour has not been examined in similar detail. Here, the arrival of females at the mating site, fresh cattle droppings, is investigated. While almost all males are present shortly after pat deposition females arrive at a low, decreasing rate over an interval of about 5 hours. We propose that the distribution of female arrival times represents a mixed Evolutionarily Stable Strategy (ESS), formed by different trade-offs between costs and benefits of early and late arrival. Early arrival could be favoured by advantages due to better conditions for oviposition, faster egg development of reduced larval competition. Late arrival could be favoured by negative effects on females of male—male competition being weaker later after deposition. Computer simulations with distributions of arrival times deviating from the natural one were performed to “measure” the costs for females arriving at different times. These costs were compared with estimated benefits corresponding to the females' arrival times. This procedure revealed that females coming to the pat later in a population of females arriving shortly after deposition would be favoured. In a population arriving according to a uniform distribution, early females would have fitness advantages. Thus, evolution should lead to an intermediate distribution of arrival times, as in nature, i.e. female arrival behaviour is probably adaptive. The simulations also revealed that the intensity of sexual selection though male–male competition is highest with the natural pattern of female arrival. Therefore, natural selection generating this pattern amplifies the intensity of male–male interaction as a by-product.

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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)
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Statistics and Probability
Physical Sciences > Modeling and Simulation
Life Sciences > General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Life Sciences > General Immunology and Microbiology
Life Sciences > General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Physical Sciences > Applied Mathematics
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, Modelling and Simulation, Statistics and Probability, General Immunology and Microbiology, Applied Mathematics, General Agricultural and Biological Sciences, General Medicine
Language:English
Date:1 December 1998
Deposited On:22 Aug 2019 12:49
Last Modified:31 Jul 2020 03:32
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0022-5193
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1006/jtbi.1998.0795

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