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Data for: Should females cannibalise with or without mating in the facultatively parthenogenetic springbok mantis

Citation

Burke, Nathan; Holwell, Gregory (2022), Data for: Should females cannibalise with or without mating in the facultatively parthenogenetic springbok mantis, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.98sf7m0nc

Abstract

Non-copulatory cannibalism, which occurs when females attack and consume males instead of mating with them, could persist if it enhances female fecundity more than it exacerbates reproductive failure. However, females that are facultatively parthenogenetic may be able to cannibalise indiscriminately since securing a mate is not necessary for reproduction when parthenogenesis is possible. We used an experimental approach to examine the economics of cannibalism with and without mating for female Miomantis caffra—a facultatively parthenogenetic mantis that shows high rates of non-copulatory cannibalism. If non-copulatory cannibalism is maintained by fecundity enhancement, we predicted that eating a male would boost female fitness regardless of mating status. If non-copulatory cannibalism persists by facilitating total mating avoidance, then we predicted that mating would be costly, and females would perform better via parthenogenesis than via sex. Contrary to our predictions, we found that mating once led to dramatically higher fitness than not mating, and cannibalising a single male provided no overall fitness benefit to either mated or unmated females. Our results suggest that precopulatory cannibalism persists in M. caffra for reasons other than fecundity enhancement or total mating avoidance.

Funding

University of Auckland