Data from: Males evolve to be more harmful under increased sexual conflict intensity in a seed beetle

  • Kathryn McNamara (Contributor)
  • Nadia Sloan (Contributor)
  • Sian Kershaw (Contributor)
  • Emile Van Lieshout (Contributor)
  • Leigh Simmons (Contributor)



One conspicuous manifestation of sexual conflict is traumatic mating, in which male genitalia damage the female during copulation. The penis of the seed beetle, Callosobruchus maculatus, is covered in spines that damage the female reproductive tract. Females kick males ostensibly to shorten these harmful copulations. How these iconic conflict behaviours coevolve in response to sexual conflict intensity can provide insight into the economics of these traits. We examined whether male harm and female resistance coevolved in response to elevated sexual conflict. We quantified copulation behaviour and female reproductive tract damage of individuals from replicated populations evolving for 32 generations under low or high sexual conflict (female- and male-biased treatments, respectively). First, we permitted females ad libitum matings with males from either sex-ratio treatment, recording her tract damage and longevity. Second, we performed a full-factorial cross of matings by males and females from each of the replicate populations, recording mating and kicking duration and reproductive output. We found manipulation of sexual conflict intensity led to the evolution of male harmfulness, but not female resistance to harm. We also demonstrate that female kicking does not respond to sexual conflict intensity, suggesting it does not function to mitigate male harm in this species. Our findings demonstrate the complexities of behavioural and morphological co-evolutionary responses to sexual conflict intensity in an important model species.,Dryad - all data The complete data set. The two experiments in our paper are separated onto two different tabs of the excel file.,
Date made available28 Sep 2019

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