Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Nuptial Gift

  • Jacob PappasEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_323-1


Nuptial Gift: Materials beyond the obligatory gametes that are transferred from one sex to another during courtship or mating (Lewis and South 2012).


In nature, the race to reproduce is incredibly competitive. Success means an organism passes on its genes; failure means that the organism’s specific genes are lost to the gene pool. One way in which an organism can increase its chance of reproduction is the presentation of a nuptial gift.Lewis and South (2012) define a nuptial gift as “...materials beyond the obligatory gametes that are transferred from one sex to another during courtship or mating.” Note that this definition does not specify the sex of the giver or the receiver. Whereas male to female gifts are the most common variety of nuptial gift, some species show evidence of female to male gifts (Arnqvist et al. 2003). Male Zeus bugs (Phoreticovelia disparata)feed on female glandular secretions while mating. There is also precedence for nuptial gifts in...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PsychologyOakland UniversityRochesterUSA