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Data from: Condition-dependent female preference for male genitalia length is based on male reproductive tactics


Hernandez-Jimenez, Armando; Rios-Cardenas, Oscar (2017), Data from: Condition-dependent female preference for male genitalia length is based on male reproductive tactics, Dryad, Dataset,


There is extensive morphological variation of male genitalia across animals with internal fertilization, even among closely related species. Most studies attempting to explain this extraordinary diversity have focused on processes that occur post-copula (e.g. sperm competition, cryptic female choice). Only a few studies have focused on the pre-copula process of female preference. In addition, the extent to which this variation could be associated with the use of different reproductive tactics has yet to be explored. Here, we show that female preference for male genitalia length in two livebearing fishes depends on the type of reproductive tactic of the males being evaluated as well as the body condition of the female. In a species where all males coax females to acquire matings (courters), females preferred males with short genitalia. In a species with genetically influenced alternative reproductive tactics (courter males that only court and produce courter sons, sneaker males that use the coercive tactic of sneak chase and produce sneaker sons), female preference depended on an interaction between male tactic and female condition: females in good condition preferred courter males with short genitalia, and sneaker males with long genitalia. Our results suggest that female preference for male traits favourable to their sons may be an important factor contributing to the diversification of male genitalia. Despite the contrasting selection for genitalia length that our female preference tests suggest, we found no significant differences in genitalia length between coaxing (courters) and coercive (sneakers) males. Our study represents a starting point to more clearly understand the role of alternative reproductive tactics and variation in female mate preference in the evolution of male genitalia.

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San Luis Potosí