Physiological Costs of Repetitive Courtship Displays in Cockroaches Handicap Locomotor Performance

Mowles, Sophie L. and Jepson, Natalie M. (2015) Physiological Costs of Repetitive Courtship Displays in Cockroaches Handicap Locomotor Performance. PLOS ONE, 10 (11). e0143664. ISSN 1932-6203

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Courtship displays are typically thought to have evolved via female choice, whereby females select mates based on the characteristics of a display that is expected to honestly reflect some aspect of the male’s quality. Honesty is typically enforced by mechanistic costs and constraints that limit the level at which a display can be performed. It is becoming increasingly apparent that these costs may be energetic costs involved in the production of dynamic, often repetitive displays. A female attending to such a display may thus be assessing the physical fitness of a male as an index of his quality. Such assessment would provide information on his current physical quality as well as his ability to carry out other demanding activities, qualities with which a choosy female should want to provision her offspring. In the current study we use courtship interactions in the Cuban burrowing cockroach, Byrsotria fumigata to directly test whether courtship is associated with a signaler’s performance capacity. Males that had produced courtship displays achieved significantly lower speeds and distances in locomotor trials than non-courting control males. We also found that females mated more readily with males that produced a more vigorous display. Thus, males of this species have developed a strategy where they produce a demanding courtship display, while females choose males based on their ability to produce this display. Courtship displays in many taxa often involve dynamic repetitive actions and as such, signals of stamina in courtship may be more widespread than previously thought.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: courtship, energetic costs, mate choice, cockroach, performance capacities
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Dr Sophie Mowles
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2017 14:46
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 19:00

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