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