Sexual ornaments but not weapons trade off against testes size in primates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Males must partition their limited reproductive investments between traits that promote access to females (sexual ornaments and weapons) and traits that enhance fertilization success, such as testes and ejaculates. Recent studies show that if the most weaponized males can monopolize access to females through contest competition, thereby reducing the risk of sperm competition, they tend to invest less in sperm production. However, how males invest in sexual ornaments relative to sperm production remains less clear. If male ornaments serve as badges of status, with high-ranking males attaining near-exclusive access to females, similar to monopolizing females through combat, their expression should also covary negatively with investment in post-mating traits. In a comparative study across primates, which exhibit considerable diversification in sexual ornamentation, male weaponry and testes size, we found relative testes size to decrease with sexual ornaments but increase with canine size. These contrasting evolutionary trajectories might be driven by differential selection, functional constraints or temporal patterns of metabolic investment between the different types of sexual traits. Importantly, however, our results indicate that the theory of relative investments between weapons and testes in the context of monopolizing females can extend to male ornaments.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
JournalProceedings. Biological sciences
Volume286
Issue number1900
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2019

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Weapons
weapon
primate
Primates
trade-off
Testis
testes
Spermatozoa
sperm
weaponry
contest competition
spermatozoa
Trajectories
sperm competition
ornamentation
fertilization (reproduction)
Fertilization
ranking
trajectories
Canidae

Cite this

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Sexual ornaments but not weapons trade off against testes size in primates. / Lüpold, Stefan; Simmons, Leigh W.; Grueter, Cyril C.

In: Proceedings. Biological sciences, Vol. 286, No. 1900, 10.04.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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