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Data from: I’m sexy and I glow it: female ornamentation in a nocturnal capital breeder

Citation

Hopkins, Juhani; Baudry, Gautier; Candolin, Ulrika; Kaitala, Arja (2015), Data from: I’m sexy and I glow it: female ornamentation in a nocturnal capital breeder, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.jp35r

Abstract

In many species, males rely on sexual ornaments to attract females. Females, by contrast, rarely produce ornaments. The glow-worm (Lampyris noctiluca) is an exception where wingless females glow to attract males that fly in search of females. However, little is known about the factors that promote the evolution of female ornaments in a sexual selection context. Here, we investigated if the female ornament of the glow-worm is a signal of fecundity used in male mate choice. In support of this, we found brightness to correlate with female fecundity, and males to prefer brighter dummy females. Thus, the glow emitted by females is a reliable sexual signal of female fecundity. It is likely that male preference for the fecundity-indicating ornament has evolved because of large variation among females in fecundity, and because nocturnal males cannot directly assess female size and fecundity. These results indicate that female ornamentation may evolve in capital breeders (i.e. those in which stored resources are invested in reproduction) when females vary significantly in fecundity and this variation cannot be assessed directly by males.

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