Mating behaviour and offspring fitness dataset.
Sperm viability dataset.
The outcome of male-male contest competition is known to affect male mating success and is believed to confer fitness benefits to females through preference for dominant males. However, by mating with contest winners, females can incur significant costs spanning from decreased fecundity to negative effects on offspring. Hence identifying costs and benefits of male dominance on female fitness is crucial to unravel the potential for a conflict of interests between the sexes. Here we investigated males’ pre- and post-copulatory reproductive investment and its effect on female fitness after a single contest a using the field cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. We allowed males to fight, and immediately measured their mating behaviour, sperm quality, and offspring viability. We found that males experiencing a fight, independently of the outcome, delayed matings but their courtship effort was not affected. However, winners produced sperm of lower quality (viability) compared to losers and to males that did not experience fighting. Results suggest a trade-off in resource allocation between pre- and post-mating episodes of sexual selection. Despite lower ejaculate quality we found no fitness costs (fecundity and viability of offspring) for females mated to winners. Overall our findings highlight the importance of considering fighting ability when assessing male reproductive success, as winners may be impaired in their competitiveness at a post-mating level.
- male-male contest
- pre- and post-mating sexual selection
- resource allocation
- sexual conflict
- sperm quality