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Data from: The combined effects of pre- and postcopulatory processes are masking sexual conflict over mating rate in Gerris buenoi

Citation

Devost, Eric; Turgeon, Julie (2015), Data from: The combined effects of pre- and postcopulatory processes are masking sexual conflict over mating rate in Gerris buenoi, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.k39n8

Abstract

In polygynandrous animals, postcopulatory processes likely interfere with precopulatory sexual selection. In water striders, sexual conflict over mating rate and postcopulatory processes are well-documented but their combined effect on reproductive success has seldom been investigated. We combine genetic parentage analyses and behavioural observations conducted in a competitive reproductive environment to investigate how pre- and postcopulatory processes influence reproductive success in Gerris buenoi Kirkaldy. Precopulatory struggles had antagonistic effects on male and female reproductive success: efficiently gaining copulations was beneficial for males while efficiently avoiding copulations was profitable for females. Also, high mating rates and an intermediate optimal resistance level of females supported the hypothesis of convenience polyandry. Contrary to formal predictions, high mating rates (i.e. the number of copulations) did not increase reproductive success in males or decrease reproductive success in females. Instead, the reproductive success of both sexes was higher when offspring were produced with several partners and when there were few unnecessary matings. Thus, male and female G. buenoi displayed different interests in reproduction, but postcopulatory processes were masking the effects of copulatory mating success on reproductive success. Given the high mating rates observed, sperm competition could easily counter the effect of mating rates, perhaps in interaction with cryptic female choice and/or fecundity selection. Our study presents a complex but realistic overview of sexual selection forces at work in a model organism for the study of sexual conflict, confirming that insights are gained from investigating all episodes in the reproduction cycle of polygynandrous animals.

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