Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Female mate searching evolves when mating gifts are important, katydid study finds

Date:
September 28, 2011
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
In the animal world, males typically search for their female partners. The mystery is that in some species, you get a reversal -- the females search for males. A new study of katydids supports a theory that females will search if males offer a lot more than just sperm.

This is a male katydid with sperm packet and mating gift.
Credit: Professor Jay McCartney, Massey University, New Zealand

In the animal world, males typically search for their female partners. The mystery is that in some species, you get a reversal -- the females search for males.

A new study of katydids in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B -- co-authored by U of T Mississauga professor Darryl Gwynne -- supports a theory that females will search if males offer a lot more than just sperm.

"In this beast [in this study], it's a big cheesy, gooey substance that the male ejects when he copulates," says Gwynne. "It's attached to his sperm packet, so while she's being inseminated, she can reach back and grab this mating gift and eat it."

Gwynne met the lead author of the study, Jay McCartney, while on sabbatical at Massey University in New Zealand. Since part of his own research expertise covered the mating behaviours of these types of insects, Gwynne was asked to act as a co-supervisor of the project and suggested that the data could provide clues into the diversity in nature of how animals search for mates.

"Males mostly do the searching, because the Darwinian sexual selection process is typical stronger in males; they're competitive," says Gwynne." As a consequence of their eagerness to get to the females, the females just hang out waiting for the males to come to them."

In the insects that Gwynne works with, some males sing to advertise that they have a safe burrow to offer the females, while in other species, they offer the females a nutritional perk. In the katydids, where a female searched for a male, she stood to gain the largest nutritional gift.

And from the male's perspective, a large food gift not only potentially benefits his offspring, but distracts the female long enough to ensure that he has time for a full insemination. Otherwise, says Gwynne, "she's hungry...if he didn't give her this gift, she'd just pull off the sperm packet and snack on that like a little hors d'oeuvre."

Gwynne says that female searching behaviour exists elsewhere in the animal kingdom -- for example, in singing animals like frogs -- and deserves further study.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. J. McCartney, H. Kokko, K.- G. Heller, D. T. Gwynne. The evolution of sex differences in mate searching when females benefit: new theory and a comparative test. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2011; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2011.1505

Cite This Page:

University of Toronto. "Female mate searching evolves when mating gifts are important, katydid study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110928125314.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2011, September 28). Female mate searching evolves when mating gifts are important, katydid study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110928125314.htm
University of Toronto. "Female mate searching evolves when mating gifts are important, katydid study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110928125314.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) Police in Gary, Indiana are using cadaver dogs to search for more victims after a suspected serial killer confessed to killing at least seven women. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Visitors to Belgrade zoo meet a pair of three-week-old lion cubs for the first time. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
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