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Female receptivity affects subsequent mating effort and mate choice in male guppies

Guevara-Fiore, P., Endler, J.A.
Animal behaviour 2018 v.140 pp. 73-79
Poecilia reticulata, animal behavior, copulation, courtship, energy, fecundity, germ cells, males, reproductive success, social behavior, virgin females
High mating effort leads to choosiness because each mating event reduces future reproductive potential. Many studies have shown that males adjust their sexual behaviour relative to female fecundity and encounter rate. However, little is known about the effects of a male's past mating experiences. We used guppies, Poecilia reticulata, to investigate how males change their sexual behaviour after experiencing high or low mating success. Each male was tested with two differently sized unreceptive females before and after encountering either four indiscriminate receptive virgin females or four nonreceptive pregnant females. Males that experienced high mating success with receptive females decreased their courtship displays but increased the frequency of sneaky behaviour, whereas low mating success males previously repetitively rejected by nonreceptive females showed an increase in courtship and a decrease in sneaky copulation attempts. Mating history also influenced male choosiness, with successful males showing stronger preferences for larger females than unsuccessful males. This overall adjustment in behaviour may be attributed to a reduction of resources, such as energy and gametes, as well as prior social interaction with receptive and nonreceptive females. Males that adjust their effort and choosiness based on their recent mating history and their own condition could optimize reproductive trade-offs.