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Male mating preference for female survivorship in the seaweed fly Gluma musgravei (Diptera: Coelopidae)

D. W. Dunn, C. S. Crean, A. S. Gilburn


The seaweed fly mating system is characterized by pre–mating struggles during which females exhibit a mate rejection response involving kicking, shaking and abdominal curling. Males must resist rejection until females become passive and allow copulation to take place. However, despite the vigorous nature of the struggle males frequently dismount passive females without attempting copulation. Here we show that rejected females suffered higher post–encounter mortality rates than those accepted by males in the seaweed fly Gluma musgravei. Furthermore, we show that males also preferentially mounted females with higher future longevity. We propose that this male mate choice for female survivorship has evolved as a result of females often having to survive for long periods after mating until suitable oviposition sites become available. Such male preferences for female survivorship may be common in species in which oviposition must sometimes be substantially delayed after mating.

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