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Data from: Maintenance of deceptive gifts in a natural spider population: ecological and demographic factors

Citation

Albo, Maria et al. (2019), Data from: Maintenance of deceptive gifts in a natural spider population: ecological and demographic factors, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4hj4f77

Abstract

Alternative mating tactics are expected to occur predominantly when mate competition is intense, resources are in short supply, or as a result of asymmetric power relationships between individuals. Males of the nuptial gift-giving spider Pisaura mirabilis use a prevailing tactic of offering a nutritive gift (insect prey) and a deceptive tactic of offering a worthless gift (consumed prey) to prospective mates. If the male’s tactic depends on pre-copulatory male-male competition, worthless gifts should occur primarily late in the season, when the operational sex ratio (OSR) becomes male-biased. If it depends on resource availability and/or post-copulatory sexual selection (sperm competition), worthless gifts should occur mostly early in the mating season, when prey availability is low and most females are unmated (i.e. post-copulatory sexual selection is weak). Nuptial gift construction correlated positively with prey availability and negatively with OSR, suggesting that males increase reproductive effort when resource and mate availability increase. We did not find evidence for body condition affecting male tactic use. Male size had a marked effect on the reproductive tactic employed. Males that matured early in the season were very small and employed mostly the nutritive gift tactic during their short life. Among the males that matured later and persisted through the season, relatively small males employed the worthless gift tactic whereas large males employed the nutritive gift tactic. We suggest that the existence of two distinct life history strategies among males (early small and late large size) interacts with environmental and demographic conditions to maintain the deceptive tactic.

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