Sequential male mate choice under sperm competition risk

Ramm SA, Stockley P (2014)
Behavioral Ecology 25(3): 660-667.

Journal Article | Published | English

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Male eagerness to mate is a central paradigm of sexual selection theory. However, limited sperm supplies mean that male sexual restraint might sometimes be favored under promiscuous mating. Here, we demonstrate dynamic plasticity in male mating effort when females are encountered sequentially under varying sperm competition risk. Rather than showing consistent eagerness to mate, male house mice (Mus musculus domesticus) instead tailor their mating effort according to likely reproductive payoffs. They are significantly less likely to mate when sperm competition is certain and potential reproductive payoffs low, but dramatically increase investment if they do choose to mate under such circumstances. By contrast, male mice are significantly more likely to mate in situations simulating extra-territorial copulations, where future risk of competition is high but so too are potential reproductive rewards. Differential mating propensity appears to be the primary mechanism by which male house mice allocate sperm adaptively under sperm competition risk because we find no evidence for facultative adjustment of sperm numbers per ejaculate or ejaculation frequency in response to female-related cues. We conclude that sequential male mate choice under sperm competition risk could be a widespread but often unappreciated mechanism of strategic sperm allocation.
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Ramm SA, Stockley P. Sequential male mate choice under sperm competition risk. Behavioral Ecology. 2014;25(3):660-667.
Ramm, S. A., & Stockley, P. (2014). Sequential male mate choice under sperm competition risk. Behavioral Ecology, 25(3), 660-667.
Ramm, S. A., and Stockley, P. (2014). Sequential male mate choice under sperm competition risk. Behavioral Ecology 25, 660-667.
Ramm, S.A., & Stockley, P., 2014. Sequential male mate choice under sperm competition risk. Behavioral Ecology, 25(3), p 660-667.
S.A. Ramm and P. Stockley, “Sequential male mate choice under sperm competition risk”, Behavioral Ecology, vol. 25, 2014, pp. 660-667.
Ramm, S.A., Stockley, P.: Sequential male mate choice under sperm competition risk. Behavioral Ecology. 25, 660-667 (2014).
Ramm, Steven A., and Stockley, Paula. “Sequential male mate choice under sperm competition risk”. Behavioral Ecology 25.3 (2014): 660-667.
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