Rival male chemical cues evoke changes in male pre- and post-copulatory investment in a flour beetle

Sarah M. Lane, Joanna H. Solino, Christopher Mitchell, Jonathan D. Blount, Kensuke Okada, John Hunt, Clarissa M. House

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Males can gather information on the risk and intensity of sperm competition from their social environment. Recent studies have implicated chemosensory cues, for instance cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) in insects, as a key source of this information. Here, using the broad-horned flour beetle (Gnatocerus cornutus), we investigated the importance of contact-derived rival male CHCs in informing male perception of sperm competition risk and intensity. We experimentally perfumed virgin females with male CHCs via direct intersexual contact and measured male pre- and post-copulatory investment in response to this manipulation. Using chemical analysis, we verified that this treatment engendered changes to perfumed female CHC profiles, but did not make perfumed females "smell" mated. Despite this, males responded to these chemical changes. Males increased courtship effort under low levels of perceived competition (from 1-3 rivals), but significantly decreased courtship effort as perceived competition rose (from 3-5 rivals). Furthermore, our measurement of ejaculate investment showed that males allocated significantly more sperm to perfumed females than to control females. Together, these results suggest that changes in female chemical profile elicited by contact with rival males do not provide males with information on female mating status, but rather inform males of the presence of rivals within the population and thus provide a means for males to indirectly assess the risk of sperm competition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1021-1029
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioral Ecology
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Fingerprint

chemical cue
Tenebrionidae
beetle
sperm competition
Gnatocerus cornutus
hydrocarbons
hydrocarbon
courtship
social environment
virgin females
smell
information sources
chemical analysis
sperm
Rosa
spermatozoa
insect

Keywords

  • Chemical cues
  • Cuticular hydrocarbons
  • Ejaculate expenditure
  • Gnatocerus cornutus
  • Sperm competition risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Lane, S. M., Solino, J. H., Mitchell, C., Blount, J. D., Okada, K., Hunt, J., & House, C. M. (2015). Rival male chemical cues evoke changes in male pre- and post-copulatory investment in a flour beetle. Behavioral Ecology, 26(4), 1021-1029. https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arv047

Rival male chemical cues evoke changes in male pre- and post-copulatory investment in a flour beetle. / Lane, Sarah M.; Solino, Joanna H.; Mitchell, Christopher; Blount, Jonathan D.; Okada, Kensuke; Hunt, John; House, Clarissa M.

In: Behavioral Ecology, Vol. 26, No. 4, 2015, p. 1021-1029.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lane, SM, Solino, JH, Mitchell, C, Blount, JD, Okada, K, Hunt, J & House, CM 2015, 'Rival male chemical cues evoke changes in male pre- and post-copulatory investment in a flour beetle', Behavioral Ecology, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 1021-1029. https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arv047
Lane, Sarah M. ; Solino, Joanna H. ; Mitchell, Christopher ; Blount, Jonathan D. ; Okada, Kensuke ; Hunt, John ; House, Clarissa M. / Rival male chemical cues evoke changes in male pre- and post-copulatory investment in a flour beetle. In: Behavioral Ecology. 2015 ; Vol. 26, No. 4. pp. 1021-1029.
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