Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 65, Issue 10, pp 1957–1966 | Cite as

Reproductive consequences of male body mass and aggressiveness depend on females’ behavioral types

  • Jonathan N. Pruitt
  • Susan E. Riechert
  • David J. Harris
Original Paper


Relatively few investigations explicitly test for concordant versus conflicting selection pressures from intrasexual versus intersexual selection. Here, we examine the effects of male body mass and behavioral type (BT) on reproductive success in the spider Anelosimus studiosus, with emphasis placed on the potential interaction between intrasexual and intersexual selection influences. Female A. studiosus exhibit either an aggressive-active or docile-passive BT, both of which co-occur in multifemale colonies. Males, in contrast, exhibit a more continuous distribution of behavioral tendencies. We investigated the male traits favored by females in five trial types: one docile female, one aggressive female, four docile females, four aggressive females, and two docile and two aggressive females. Male reproductive success was estimated by the number eggs produced by females following staged mating trials. In previous work, it was established that large aggressive males are favored in male–male contests, an intrasexual effect. However, large aggressive males were not universally favored here. We failed to detect an effect of male body mass or aggressiveness on reproductive success in trials with all docile females; however, in situations involving aggressive females, large aggressive males experienced diminished reproductive success relative to small docile males. Large, aggressive males were also more likely to be attacked and killed by aggressive females in the first 20 min of staged encounters and were more likely to be found dead after 72 h of unobserved interactions. Taken together, our data suggest that the reproductive consequences of male traits differ based on (1) the aspect of sexual selection being considered (intrasexual versus intersexual) and (2) the BT of their prospective mates: large aggressive males enjoy advantages in intrasexual selection and when courting docile females and small docile males experience reduced risk of cannibalism and increased reproductive success with aggressive females.


Behavioral syndrome Personality Sexual selection Social selection Temperament 



We would like to thank Eileen Hebets, Kyle Demes, Stephanie Kamel, Jennifer Krauel, Mark Hauber, and one anonymous reviewer for their thoughtful comments on previous versions of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan N. Pruitt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Susan E. Riechert
    • 1
  • David J. Harris
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  2. 2.The Center for Population BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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