It’s the time of the season: seasonal variation in sexually conflicted size-assortative pairing View Full Text


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Article Info

DATE

2022-07-28

AUTHORS

Whitney L. Heuring, Melissa Hughes

ABSTRACT

Size-assortative pairing is common across a wide range of taxa. In many cases, both sexes would benefit from pairing with a mate larger than themselves. As males and females cannot simultaneously be larger than their pair mate, size differences within pairs reflect which sex is able to obtain this benefit. Snapping shrimp can be found in pairs year-round, and both males and females would benefit from pairing with larger individuals. Larger females are more fecund; males, then, are likely to benefit from pairing with larger females primarily in the reproductive season. Larger individuals are more successful competitors and females benefit more from shared burrow defense than males; for females, then, benefits of pairing with larger males are likely to accrue year-round. In this study, we use field data to test whether within-pair size differences in snapping shrimp correspond more to male or female interests, and whether this outcome differs between seasons. We find that size-assortative pairing varies seasonally: although body sizes of paired males and females are highly correlated year-round, the within-pair size difference is greater during the reproductive season than the nonreproductive season. Furthermore, within pairs, females are larger than males during the reproductive season, while pairs are size-matched or male-biased during the nonreproductive season. These changes in within-pair size relationships suggest seasonal differences in which sex has greater control over pair formation, and highlight nonreproductive benefits associated with monogamous pairing. In addition, these results underscore the importance of considering temporal variation in studies of size-assortative pairing.Significance statementIn many taxa, it is advantageous for both males and females to mate with larger individuals. As both sexes cannot simultaneously mate with larger individuals, size relationships within pairs reflect the outcome of this sexual conflict. In snapping shrimp, pairs cooperate in defending their burrows from invading conspecifics, and larger individuals are better competitors; larger females are also more fecund. Thus, males obtain a reproductive advantage from mating with larger females, while for females, mating with larger males provides social (territorial defense) benefits. Here, we find seasonal differences in within-pair size relationships, such that females are larger than males during the reproductive season, but pairs in the nonreproductive season are size-matched or male-biased. These results suggest seasonal variation in the outcome of conflict over body size within pairs, and highlights the need to consider temporal variation in size-assortative pairing. More... »

PAGES

107

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URI

http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1007/s00265-022-03214-5

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00265-022-03214-5

DIMENSIONS

https://app.dimensions.ai/details/publication/pub.1149821500


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