Data from: Complex interactions between temperature, sexual signals, and mate choice in a desert-dwelling jumping spider
Brandt, Erin; Rosenthal, Malcolm; Elias, Damian (2020), Data from: Complex interactions between temperature, sexual signals, and mate choice in a desert-dwelling jumping spider, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.6078/D1C41F
Environmental context is a crucial factor that influences sexual communication systems. Particularly in ectotherms, which cannot metabolically regulate their body temperature, temperature has an outsized effect on these intraspecific interactions. Using a desert-dwelling jumping spider Habronattus clypeatus, we assessed how temperature impacts various parts of the male signal and female mate choice for the signal. These spiders have multimodal, temporally-structured courtship displays that begin with visual-only “sidling” displays and proceed to multimodal visual and vibratory displays. In order to examine temperature effects, we performed no-choice mating experiments (n = 45 trials) at two temperature treatments: hot (~50 °C) and room temperature (~25 °C). We found first that variation in the different stages of courtship segregated onto different principal components. We also found that temperature impacts only vibratory courtship and not sidling courtship. The only aspect of male courtship that females expressed preference for was sidling courtship, but only at the higher temperature. Specifically, females preferred to mate with males that performed shorter sidling displays. This is reflected by shorter copulation times in the warm treatment as well. Our results highlight the importance of understanding environmental context in studies of animal communication. We also stress how a holistic, rather than reductive, approach to complex communication systems is vital in order to understand how selection acts upon them.
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National Science Foundation, Award: DEB 1754605
National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-1556421