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Abstract

Young, small, sexually-inexperienced males suffer lower mating success than older, larger, more experienced males in many species of animals. I compared the mating success of male Desmognathus ochrophaeus (Amphibia: Caudata: Plethodontidae) reared to maturity in the laboratory with that of males collected as adults in the field. Courtship trials were staged in the laboratory between single males and females. Laboratory-reared males were significantly smaller in body size than adult males collected in the field, were certainly inexperienced sexually and were probably younger. No difference was found between laboratory-reared males and field-collected males in any measure of mating success, although the former apparently produced smaller sperm masses. I conclude that newly-mature male D. ochrophaeus are not discriminated against by females in the context of mate choice, and do not need to “rehearse” courtship in order to obtain successful inseminations. However, newly-mature males are probably at a disadvantage in terms of aggressive and sperm competition with larger males.