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A behavioral syndrome linking courtship behavior toward males and females predicts reproductive success from a single mating in the hissing cockroach, Gromphadorhina portentosa

David M. Logue, Sandeep Mishra, David McCaffrey, Deborah Ball and William H. Cade

Behavioral Ecology, 2009, vol. 20, issue 4, 781-788

Abstract: Suites of correlated behaviors, or "behavioral syndromes," have been shown to occur throughout the animal kingdom. Behavioral syndromes involving sexual selection are expected to have significant evolutionary ramifications, but few studies have linked behavioral syndromes to sexual selection. We measured the behavior of male hissing cockroaches (Gromphadorhina portentosa) during male--male competition, female choice, and 3 other ecologically relevant contexts and quantified between-context correlations in behavior. We found that aggression directed toward an opponent and retreat and courtship elicited from an opponent were repeatable among males, suggesting that individuals exhibit stable behavioral types in the context of male--male interaction. Our analyses also revealed a "fast--slow" syndrome, linking behavior in a self-righting context to behavior in a foraging context. In contrast to data from several other species, fast--slow scores in hissing cockroaches were not correlated with aggression in a male--male context. Finally, we identified a new type of behavioral syndrome, which we call "libido." Libido was defined by a positive relationship between courtship directed toward opponents in a male--male context and courtship directed toward potential mating partners in a male--female context. Among males that copulated, libido scores predicted reproductive success. We conclude that the libido syndrome, coupled with sexual selection favoring high courtship intensity in a male--female context, may be responsible for the persistence of male--male courtship behavior in this population. Copyright 2009, Oxford University Press.

Date: 2009
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