The influence of male age and simulated pathogenic infection on producing a dishonest sexual signal
Abbreviated Journal Title
Proc. R. Soc. B-Biol. Sci.
trade-off; dishonest signal; infection; residual reproductive value; reproductive acceleration; sexual conflict; TERMINAL INVESTMENT; OLDER MALES; FEMALE PREFERENCE; FIELD CRICKETS; IMMUNE DEFENSE; EVOLUTION; FITNESS; SIZE; DROSOPHILA; PARASITES; Biology; Ecology; Evolutionary Biology
In recent years, studies have shown that reproductive effort decelerates in response to pathogenic infection. If infection substantially reduces a host's residual reproductive value (RRV), however, then an acceleration of effort may instead occur (e.g. terminal investment). Reproductive acceleration would theoretically allow hosts to maintain or exaggerate their sexual signal upon infection. This would create a deceptive message from the perspective of the chooser, who may unwittingly copulate with an infected mate to their detriment. Using the cricket Allonemobius socius, we assessed the potential for reduced RRV to accelerate male reproductive effort and create a dishonest signal. RRV was manipulated through male age and simulated pathogenic insult. Reproductive effort was measured as calling song energetics, mating success, latency to mate and nuptial gift size. We show that males adopted either an accelerated or decelerated reproductive strategy upon infection, and that this decision was probably mediated by RRV. Moreover, males who accelerated their effort produced a dishonest signal by increasing their song energetics while providing fewer paternal resources (i.e. smaller gifts). Our study is one of the few to document the existence of dishonest signals and relate dishonesty to a potential reduction in female fitness, underscoring the conflict inherent in sexual reproduction.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences
"The influence of male age and simulated pathogenic infection on producing a dishonest sexual signal" (2012). Faculty Bibliography 2010s. 2444.