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Biol Lett. 2010 October 23; 6(5): 593–596.
Published online 2010 April 14. doi:  10.1098/rsbl.2010.0225
PMCID: PMC2936159

Ejaculatory strategies associated with experience of losing


Modulation of behaviours as a result of fighting experience has been observed in many animals and can influence pre-copulatory sexual selection. This study investigated how fighting experience affects ejaculatory strategies. In male flour beetles, Gnatocerus cornutus, experience of losing a fight decreases a male's aggressiveness for up to 4 days. We found that males losing a fight show increased ejaculatory investment, but there was no ejaculatory modulation owing to winning. However, the increase in ejaculate investment following a loss was no longer observed after 5 days. These results indicate that males adjust their investment in sperm competition according to their experience, and that fighting experience can significantly influence pre- and post-copulatory reproductive tactics.

Keywords: alternative tactics, phenotypic plasticity, sperm competition, winner and loser effects

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