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Data from: Optimal numbers of matings: the conditional balance between benefits and costs of mating for females of a nuptial gift-giving spider

Citation

Toft, Søren; Albo, Maria J. (2015), Data from: Optimal numbers of matings: the conditional balance between benefits and costs of mating for females of a nuptial gift-giving spider, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.g633d

Abstract

In species where females gain a nutritious nuptial gift during mating, the balance between benefits and costs of mating may depend on access to food. This means that there is not one optimal number of matings for the female but a range of optimal mating numbers. With increasing food availability, the optimal number of matings for a female should vary from the number necessary only for fertilization of her eggs to the number needed also for producing these eggs. In three experimental series, the average number of matings for females of the nuptial gift-giving spider Pisaura mirabilis before egg sac construction varied from 2 to 16 with food-limited females generally accepting more matings than well-fed females. Minimal level of optimal mating number for females at satiation feeding conditions was predicted to be 2–3; in an experimental test, the median number was 2 (range 0–4). Multiple mating gave benefits in terms of increased fecundity and increased egg hatching success up to the third mating, and it had costs in terms of reduced fecundity, reduced egg hatching success after the third mating, and lower offspring size. The level of polyandry seems to vary with the female optimum, regulated by a satiation-dependent resistance to mating, potentially leaving satiated females in lifelong virginity.

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