Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

In Promiscuous Antelopes, The 'Battle Of The Sexes' Gets Flipped

Date:
December 3, 2007
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
In some promiscuous species, sexual conflict runs in reverse, reveals a new study. Among African topi antelopes, females are the ones who aggressively pursue their mates, while males play hard to get.

Mother nursing baby topi antelope in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, East Africa.
Credit: iStockphoto/Bruce Block

In some promiscuous species, sexual conflict runs in reverse, reveals a new study. Among African topi antelopes, females are the ones who aggressively pursue their mates, while males play hard to get.

Related Articles


The classical view of sexual conflict holds that males, for whom reproducing is cheap, will mate as much as possible. On the other hand, females, who must pay a heftier price, are choosier about their mating partners.

"When biologists talk about the 'Battle of the Sexes,' they often tacitly assume that the battle is between persistent males who always want to mate and females who don't," said Jakob Bro-Jørgensen of University of Jyväskylä in Finland. "However, in topi antelopes, where females are known to prefer to mate with males in the center of mating arenas, we've found a reversal of these stereotypic sex roles."

Such role reversals may occur in species where females benefit from mating multiply, either because it increases their chances of conception with high-quality males or simply because it increases the probability that they conceive at all, Bro-Jørgensen added. He noted that this reversed sexual conflict might not be a rarity in the animal kingdom, as topi are "in many ways a very typical mammalian species characterized by male mate competition and female choice."

In promiscuous species--those in which individuals mate with multiple partners within a short time period--Bro-Jørgensen's group suspected that females might sometimes have higher optimum mating rates than their mating partners. Topi antelope offered an ideal opportunity for studying the dynamics of sex roles in promiscuous mammals, Bro-Jørgensen said, because over a month and a half, individual females become receptive to mating for roughly one day, when they mate several times with each of about four males on average. Females prefer to mate with those males who have succeeded in acquiring territories in the center of "mating arenas," known as leks. But the majority of females also mate with other males as well, resulting in intense sperm competition.

Indeed, they have now shown that aggressive female topis compete with one another for a limited supply of sperm from the most desirable members of the opposite sex, even attacking their fellow mating pairs. Meanwhile, resistant males grow choosier about their mating partners, deliberately selecting the least mated females and launching counterattacks against aggressive females with whom they've already mated.

The bottom-line of the findings, according to Bro-Jørgensen: "We should not regard coyness as the only natural female sex role just as we should not expect that it is always the natural male sex role to mindlessly accept any mating partner," he said. "Nature favors a broader range of sex roles."

This research was published online on November 29th in Current Biology.

The researcher is Jakob Bro-Jørgensen, of the Department of Biological University of Jyva¨ skyla, Jyva¨ skyla¨, Finland; and the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society, Regent's Park, London, UK.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "In Promiscuous Antelopes, The 'Battle Of The Sexes' Gets Flipped." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071129100050.htm>.
Cell Press. (2007, December 3). In Promiscuous Antelopes, The 'Battle Of The Sexes' Gets Flipped. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071129100050.htm
Cell Press. "In Promiscuous Antelopes, The 'Battle Of The Sexes' Gets Flipped." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071129100050.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Giant Panda Goes Walkabout in Southwest China

Giant Panda Goes Walkabout in Southwest China

AFP (Mar. 6, 2015) — A giant panda goes walkabout alone at night in southwest China. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nesting Bald Eagle Covered in Snow Up to Its Neck

Nesting Bald Eagle Covered in Snow Up to Its Neck

Buzz60 (Mar. 6, 2015) — The Pennsylvania State Game Commission captured amazing shots of a nesting bald eagle who stayed on its nest during a snowstorm, even when the snow piled all the way up to its neck. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Extinct' Bird Isn't Extinct At All, Scientists Find

'Extinct' Bird Isn't Extinct At All, Scientists Find

Buzz60 (Mar. 6, 2015) — Scientists rediscover a bird thought to be extinct, so we may be able to cross it off the "Gone For Good" list. Sean Dowling (@seandowlingtv) has more details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lack of Snow Pushes Alaska Sled Dog Race North

Lack of Snow Pushes Alaska Sled Dog Race North

AP (Mar. 6, 2015) — A shortage of snow has forced Alaska&apos;s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to move 300 miles north to Fairbanks. The ceremonial start through downtown Anchorage will take place this weekend, using snow stockpiled earlier this winter. (March 6) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins