Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Does the winner-loser effect determine male mating success?


Harrison, Lauren M.; Jennions, Michael D.; Head, Megan L. (2018), Data from: Does the winner-loser effect determine male mating success?, Dryad, Dataset,


Winning or losing a fight can have lasting effects on competitors. Controlling for inherent fighting ability and other factors, a history of winning often makes individuals more likely to win future contests, while the opposite is true for losers (the ‘winner-loser effect’). But does the winner-loser effect also influence a male’s mating success? We experimentally staged contests between male mosquito fish (Gambusia holbrooki) such that focal males either won or lost three successive encounters with stimulus males. We then placed a size-matched (to control for inherent fighting ability) winner and loser with a female and monitored their behavior (n = 63 trios). Winners spent significantly more time associating with the female. Winners did not make more copulation attempts, nor have a greater number of successful attempts. There was, however, a significant effect of male size on the number of successful copulation attempts: success decreased with male size for losers, but had no effect on the success rate of winners.

Usage notes