Does Male Mate Choice Vary with Environment?

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Abstract Summary

Both male and female red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, have a high mating rate. Male beetles demonstrate clear pre-copulatory mate choice. Males prefer mature females over callow females, virgin females over previously mated females, and younger females over older females. We hypothesize that male choice is affected by the environment and test whether male mate preference varies when males' environment are changed. In the first experiment, male environment was manipulated by changing the social environment and keeping males in isolation or groups. In the second experiment, male environment was manipulated by changing food availability and keeping males in starvation or optimal nutrition environments. Choosiness can be inferred by how quickly males mate, how long they investigate the female, and the frequency and duration of copulations. We predict that the males in isolation will be less choosy than the males in the group environment, and that males that are malnourished will be less choosy than the males that are nourished. To determine the results for male choosiness and reproductive capabilities, this experiment will evaluate their behavior and the outcome of the mating as measured by offspring production.

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