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Matzke, Magdalena; Rossi, Aurora and Tuni, Cristina (2022): Pre- and post-copulatory sexual selection increase offspring quality but impose survival costs to female field crickets. In: Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Vol. 36, No. 1: pp. 296-308 [PDF, 839kB]


Whether sexual selection increases or decreases fitness is under ongoing debate. Sexual selection operates before and after mating. Yet, the effects of each episode of selection on individual reproductive success remain largely unexplored. We ask how disentangled pre- and post-copulatory sexual selection contribute to fitness of field crickets Gryllus bimaculatus. Treatments allowed exclusively for (i) pre-copulatory selection, with males fighting and courting one female, and the resulting pair breeding monogamously, (ii) post-copulatory selection, with females mating consecutively to multiple males and (iii) relaxed selection, with enforced pair monogamy. While standardizing the number of matings, we estimated a number of fitness traits across treatments and show that females experiencing sexual selection were more likely to reproduce, their offspring hatched sooner, developed faster and had higher body mass at adulthood, but females suffered survival costs. Interestingly, we found no differences in fitness of females or their offspring from pre- and post-copulatory sexual selection treatments. Our findings highlight the potential for sexual selection in enhancing indirect female fitness while concurrently imposing direct survival costs. By potentially outweighing these costs, increased offspring quality could lead to beneficial population-level consequences of sexual selection.

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