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Keywords:

  • Genetic correlations;
  • heritability;
  • interacting phenotypes;
  • sexual conflict;
  • sexual selection

Mate choice often depends on the properties of both sexes, such as the preference and responsiveness of the female and the sexual display traits of the male. Quantitative genetic studies, however, traditionally explore the outcome of an interaction between males and females based solely on the genotype of one sex, treating the other sex as a source of environmental variance. Here, we use a half-sib breeding design in the field cricket, Teleogryllus commodus, to estimate the additive genetic contribution of both partners to three steps of the mate choice process: the time taken to mate; the duration of spermatophore attachment; and the intensity of mate guarding. Rather than each sex contributing equally to the interactions, we found that genetic variation for latency to mate and spermatophore attachment was sex-specific, and in the case of mate-guarding intensity, largely absent. For a given interaction, genetic variation in one sex also appears to be largely independent of the other, and is also uncorrelated with the other traits. We discuss how pre- and postcopulatory interactions have the potential to evolve as an interacting phenotype, but that any coevolution between these traits, due to sexual selection or sexual conflict, may be limited.