Data from: Sexual conflict and ecology: species composition and male density interact to reduce male mating harassment and increase female survival
Gomez, Miguel; Bensch, Hanna Mercedes; Svensson, Erik I.; Gomez-Llano, Miguel A. (2018), Data from: Sexual conflict and ecology: species composition and male density interact to reduce male mating harassment and increase female survival, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.g1qg040
Sexual conflict is a pervasive evolutionary force that can reduce female fitness. Experimental evolution studies in the laboratory might overestimate the importance of sexual conflict since the ecological conditions in such settings typically include only a single species. Here, we experimentally manipulated conspecific male density (high or low) and species composition (sympatric or allopatric) to investigate how ecological conditions affect female survival in a sexually dimorphic insect, the banded demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens). Female survival was strongly influenced by an interaction between male density and species composition. Specifically, at low conspecific male density, female survival increased in the presence of heterospecific males (C. virgo). Behavioural mating experiments showed that interspecific interference competition reduced conspecific male mating success with large females. These findings suggest that reproductive interference competition between con- and heterospecific males might indirectly facilitate female survival by reducing mating harassment from conspecific males. Hence, interspecific competitors can show contrasting effects on the two sexes thereby influencing sexual conflict dynamics. Our results call for incorporation of more ecological realism in sexual conflict research, particularly how local community context and reproductive interference competition between heterospecific males can affect female fitness.