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Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 533131
Title Female response to predation risk alters conspecific male behaviour during pre-copulatory mate guarding
Author(s) Oku, Keiko; Poelman, Erik H.; Jong, Peter W. de; Dicke, Marcel
Source Ethology 124 (2018)2. - ISSN 0179-1613 - p. 122 - 130.
Department(s) Laboratory of Entomology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Keyword(s) pre-copulatory pair - predatory mite - sex difference - solitary female - spider mite
Abstract Mating behaviour often increases predation risk, but the vulnerability within mating pairs differs between the sexes. Such a sex difference is expected to lead to differences in responses to predation risk between the sexes. In the two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae, males engage in pre-copulatory mate guarding because only the first mating results in fertilisation. We investigated (i) whether pre-copulatory pairs are more conspicuous to the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis than solitary females, (ii) whether the vulnerability to the predator differs between sexes within the pre-copulatory pair, (iii) whether each sex of T. urticae responds to predation risk during pre-copulatory mate guarding and (iv) whether T. urticae's response to predation risk affects predator behaviour. Because T. urticae females are immobile during pre-copulatory mate guarding, we observed male behaviour to evaluate effects of predation risk. We found that the predators detect more pre-copulatory pairs than solitary females and that more females than males of the pre-copulatory pairs are preyed upon by the predators. The preference of spider mite males for pre-copulatory pairs versus solitary females was affected by whether or not the female had been exposed to predators during development. Male T. urticae exposed to predation risk did not alter their behaviour. These results suggest that only the most vulnerable sex, that is the female, responds to predation risk, which modifies male behaviour. Regardless of T. urticae females’ experience, however, P. persimilis detected more T. urticae pre-copulatory pairs than solitary females, suggesting that pre-copulatory mate guarding itself is dangerous for T. urticae females when these predators are present. We discuss our results in the context of sex-dependent differences in predation risk.
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