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Mate-finding dispersal reduces local mate limitation and sex bias in dispersal

Cite this dataset

Mishra, Abhishek et al. (2020). Mate-finding dispersal reduces local mate limitation and sex bias in dispersal [Dataset]. Dryad.


1. Sex-biased dispersal (SBD) often skews the local sex ratio in a population. This can result in a shortage of mates for individuals of the less-dispersive sex. Such mate limitation can lead to Allee effects in populations that are small or undergoing range expansion, consequently affecting their survival, growth, stability and invasion speed.

2. Theory predicts that mate shortage can lead to either an increase or a decrease in the dispersal of the less-dispersive sex. However, neither of these predictions have been empirically validated.

3. To investigate how SBD-induced mate limitation affects dispersal of the less-dispersive sex, we used Drosophila melanogaster populations with varying dispersal propensities. To rule out any mate-independent density effects, we examined the behavioral plasticity of dispersal in presence of mates as well as same-sex individuals with differential dispersal capabilities.

4. In the presence of high-dispersive mates, the dispersal of both male and female individuals was significantly increased. However, the magnitude of this increase was much larger in males than in females, indicating that the former show greater mate-finding dispersal. Moreover, the dispersal of either sex did not change when dispersing alongside high- or low-dispersive individuals of the same sex. This suggested that the observed plasticity in dispersal was indeed due to mate-finding dispersal, and not mate-independent density effects.

5. Strong mate-finding dispersal can diminish the magnitude of sex bias in dispersal. This can modulate the evolutionary processes that shape range expansions and invasions, depending on the population size. In small populations, mate-finding dispersal can ameliorate Allee effects. However, in large populations, it can dilute the effects of spatial sorting. 28-May-2020


The data represents fly counts. No processing was done to the data.

Usage notes

No missing values. No outlier rejection. 


Science and Engineering Research Board, Award: #CRG/2018/001333