The great diversity of male sexual traits, ranging from peacock's elaborate train to formidable genitalia of male seed beetles, is the result of female choice, say researchers from Uppsala University, but why do females choose among males? In a new Current Biology study they found no support for the theory that the female choice is connected to "good genes".
There is no consensus among biologists over the key question why females choose among males but the heart of this debate has two preferred possibilities - that female choosiness is beneficial to the females themselves or that female choice traits are favored because of 'good genes' that males contribute to female's offspring.
Across the animal kingdom, females often resist male advances and only a small fraction of mating attempts result in copulations. Mating is costly, and one straightforward explanation for female resistance is that non-resistant females will suffer a reduction in their fitness.
However, by resisting mating attempts, females are selecting for most 'persistent' males so could it be that offspring of such 'persistent' males have higher fitness? If yes, female resistance can be viewed as a way of selecting for males that provide their offspring with 'good genes'.
"We manipulated female choosiness by altering female ability to reject unwanted males in Adzuki beetle. Female beetles are constantly harassed by ardent males and thwart male mating attempts by vigorously kicking the unwanted suitors with their hind legs. We fitted females with prongs that reduced male ability to impose copulations. Alternatively, we reduced females' ability to resist copulations by shortening their hind legs. Females with increased ability to reject male mating attempts had much higher fitness than females whose resistance was reduced. What about the 'good genes'?" says Alexei Maklakov, who led the study.
"We found no support for the idea that increased female resistance to mating results in sons that are more successful in competition with other males, or in more fertile daughters. Hence, female resistance is mostly beneficial to the female herself, while inadvertent selection for male 'persistence' plays a minor role."
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Is That A Real Patient Or A Junkie? Now There's An App For That
- You Are Ready To Eat Insects If You Have These Characteristics
- How The Higgs Became The Target Of Run 2 At The Tevatron
- How Neuroscience Is Being Used To Spread Quackery In Business And Education
- Global 'Roadmap' Shows Where To Put Roads Without Costing The Earth
- MOOCs: Learning About Online Learning, One Click At A Time
- Will We Meet ET Microbes On Mars? Why We Should Care Deeply About Them - Like Tigers
- "More precisely: you can say that you have a quantum of an EM wave *after* one combined creation/detection..."
- "What are you planning to do this Month? Here is the list of 200 free online courses that start..."
- "So in this representation every four vector is represented by a 4x4 matrix, but not every 4x4 matrix..."
- "If you look up a text on Quantum Electrodynamics you should find a Psi field for creating and destroying..."
- "You guessed alright, that is a page from the book...Cheers,T...."
- Geochronology and global context of the Charnian Supergroup
- Confirmation of a low pre-extensional geothermal gradient in the Grayback normal
- Scientists get set for simulated nuclear inspection
- Invisible blood in urine may indicate bladder cancer
- Sugar substance 'kills' good HDL cholesterol, new research finds