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Data from: Flirtation reduces males’ fecundity but not longevity

Cite this dataset

Esfandi, Kambiz; He, Xiong Zhao; Wang, Qiao (2015). Data from: Flirtation reduces males’ fecundity but not longevity [Dataset]. Dryad.


Theory predicts that due to limited resources males should strategically adjust their investment in reproduction and survival. Based on different conceptual framework, experimental designs and study species, many studies support while others contradict this general prediction. Using a moth Ephestia kuehniella whose adults do not feed and thus have fixed resources for their lifetime fitness, we investigated whether males adjusted their investment in various life activities under dynamic socio-sexual environment. We allowed focal males to perceive rivals or additional females without physical contact. We show that males do not adjust the number of sperm they transfer to mates in a given copulation at different immediate or both immediate and mean sperm competition levels. Contradictory to general predictions, our results demonstrate that cues from additional females increase males’ investment in courtship and reduce their lifetime number of copulations and sperm ejaculated, whereas cues from rivals have no effect on these parameters. Males have similar longevity in all treatments. We suggest that the sex pheromone produced by multiple females over-stimulate males, increasing males’ costly flirtations and reducing their lifetime copulation frequency and fecundity. This finding offers a novel explanation for the success of mating disruption strategy using sex pheromones in pest management.

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