Testing the role of same-sex sexual behaviour in the evolution of alternative male reproductive phenotypes
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Male same-sex sexual behaviour (SSB), where males court or attempt to mate with other males, is common among animal taxa. Recent studies have examined its fitness costs and benefits in attempts to understand its evolutionary maintenance, but the evolutionary consequences of SSB are less commonly considered. One potential impact of SSB might be to facilitate the evolution of traits associated with less sexually dimorphic males, such as alternative reproductive tactics, by diverting costly aggression from other males. To test this, we capitalized on the recent rapid spread of a silent male morph of the field cricket, Teleogryllus oceanicus, which is unable to produce characteristic male acoustic signals, benefits from satellite mating behaviour and has feminized appearance and cuticular hydrocarbon profiles. We tested the prediction that interactions involving these nonsignalling, less sexually dimorphic male morphs would show heightened rates of SSB, which could reduce the strength of male–male competition and permit greater access to females. We found no evidence that SSB was more common in trials involving silent males. Instead, SSB was predicted by courtship of females presented during a pretrial treatment. Our results provide evidence supporting the view that SSB represents a spillover of sexually selected courtship behaviour in a nonadaptive context, but do not support a strong role for SSB in the evolution of less ornamented males in this system.
Rayner , J & Bailey , N W 2019 , ' Testing the role of same-sex sexual behaviour in the evolution of alternative male reproductive phenotypes ' , Animal Behaviour , vol. 157 , pp. 5-11 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2019.08.017
Copyright © 2019 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the author created accepted manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2019.08.017
DescriptionNWB is grateful to the Natural Environmental Research Council for funding that supported this work (NE/L011255/1).
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