Male water striders attract predators to intimidate females into copulation

Chang S. Han

& Piotr G. Jablonski

Abstract

Despite recent advances in our understanding of sexual conflict and antagonistic coevolution between sexes, the role of interspecific interactions, such as predation, in these evolutionary processes remains unclear. In this paper, we present a new male mating strategy whereby a male water strider Gerris gracilicornis intimidates a female by directly attracting predators as long as she does not accept the male’s coercive copulation attempt. We argue that this male strategy is a counteradaptation to the evolution of the female morphological shield protecting her genitalia from coercive intromission by water strider males. The G. gracilicornis mating system clearly represents an effect expected from models of the coevolutionary arms race between sexes, whereby one sex causes a decrease in the fitness component of the other sex. Moreover, our study demonstrates a crucial role that interspecific interactions such as predation can have in the antagonistic coevolution between sexes…. Read More>>

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