Original Article

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 145-155

Female resistance and male preference in a stream-dwelling isopod: effects of female molt characteristics

  • T. C. SparkesAffiliated withCenter for Ecology, Evolution and Behavior T. H. Morgan School of Biological Sciences University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0225, USA e-mail: tcspar2@pop.uky.edu Tel.: +1-606-3235491, Fax: +1-606-2571717
  • , D. P. KeoghAffiliated withGraduate Center for Toxicology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0054, USA
  • , K. E. HaskinsAffiliated withCenter for Ecology, Evolution and Behavior T. H. Morgan School of Biological Sciences University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0225, USA e-mail: tcspar2@pop.uky.edu Tel.: +1-606-3235491, Fax: +1-606-2571717

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Abstract 

In the stream-dwelling isopod, Lirceus fontinalis, mating contests between males and females occur prior to pair formation. We examined the relative contribution of male preference and female resistance to contest outcomes. We first quantified male and female behavior during typical mating interactions and examined the relationship between time until molt (TTM) and mating outcomes. We then examined the role of male preference and female resistance in determining mating outcomes when females differed in molt type (growth, egg deposition) and appeared to differ in TTM (due to hormone applications). Both male preference and female resistance contributed to different components of the mating sequence but female resistance ultimately determined whether or not pair formation occurred. Males expressed a preference for females that appeared to be close to molt, using variation in levels of molt hormone as a cue. However, males did not discriminate between females based on molt type.

Key words Isopod Sexual conflict Male preference Female resistance Molting hormone