Sex differences in nutrient intake can reduce the potential for sexual conflict over fitness maximization by female and male crickets

Soon Hwee Ng, Stephen J. Simpson, Leigh W. Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
54 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

As females and males have different roles in reproduction, they are expected to require different nutrients for the expression of reproductive traits. However, due to their shared genome, both sexes may be constrained in the regulation of nutrient intake that maximizes sex-specific fitness. Here, we used the Geometric Framework for nutrition to examine the effect of macronutrient and micronutrient intakes on lifespan, fecundity and cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) that signal mate quality to prospective mates in female field crickets, Teleogryllus oceanicus. In addition, we contrasted nutritional effects on life-history traits between males and females to determine how sex differences influence nutrient regulation. We found that carbohydrate intake maximized female lifespan and protein intake influenced CHC expression, while early life fecundity (cumulative fecundity at day 21) and lifetime fecundity were dependent on both macronutrient and micronutrient intakes. Fecundity required different nutrient blends to those required to optimize sperm viability in males, generating the potential for sexual conflict over macronutrient intake. The regulation of protein (P) and carbohydrate (C) intakes by virgin and mated females initially matched that of males, but females adjusted their intake to a higher P:C ratio, 1P:2C, that maximized fecundity as they aged. This suggests that a sex-specific, age-dependent change in intake target for sexually mature females, regardless of their mating status, adjusts protein consumption in preparation for oviposition. Sex differences in the regulation of nutrient intake to optimize critical reproductive traits in female and male T. oceanicus provide an example of how sexual conflict over nutrition can shape differences in foraging between the sexes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1106-1116
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume32
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

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