Females remate more frequently when mated with sperm-deficient males Public Deposited

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  • Polyandry is a source of sexual conflict and males often try to limit female promiscuity. Consequently, male manipulation of receptivity via antiaphrodisiacs and copulatory plugs that prevent female remating can be a source of sexual conflict. This sexual conflict may be intensified when females must remate for fertility insurance. Male red‐sided garter snakes produce a large, gelatinous copulatory plug that has been proposed to 1) physically prevent remating and 2) contain an antiaphrodisiac that reduces female receptivity. These males may become sperm depleted because of their dissociated reproductive pattern. If a female mates with a sperm deficient male and is also rendered unreceptive to further mating, then this represents a serious conflict. We tested whether female remating frequency is affected when females are mated with a male that produces a sperm‐less copulatory plug. We show that females are significantly more likely to remate after mating with vasectomized males than intact males, even though vasectomized males still produce a copulatory plug. These results suggest that the ejaculate material of the plug does not contain an antiaphrodisiac. Instead, females may use sperm as a cue for post‐copulatory mate assessment and seek to remate for the direct benefit of fertility insurance if they have mated with sperm‐depleted males.
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  • Friesen, C. R., Uhrig, E. J., & Mason, R. T. (2014). Females remate more frequently when mated with sperm‐deficient males. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology, 321(10), 603-609. doi:10.1002/jez.1892
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  • 321
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  • 10
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  • This material is based in part upon work supported by the National Science Foundation [IOS-0620125 to RTM, and IOS-1011727 and DIB-1308394 to CRF].
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