MATING UNPLUGGED: A MODEL FOR THE EVOLUTION OF MATING PLUG (DIS-)PLACEMENT
Version of Record online: 7 AUG 2011
© 2011 The Author(s). Evolution © 2011 The Society for the Study of Evolution.
Volume 66, Issue 1, pages 31–39, January 2012
How to Cite
Fromhage, L. (2012), MATING UNPLUGGED: A MODEL FOR THE EVOLUTION OF MATING PLUG (DIS-)PLACEMENT. Evolution, 66: 31–39. doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01406.x
- Issue online: 3 JAN 2012
- Version of Record online: 7 AUG 2011
- Accepted manuscript online: 13 JUL 2011 07:27PM EST
- Received September 24, 2010, Accepted July 1, 2011
- mating plug;
- mating strategies;
- sexual selection;
- sperm competition
Mating plugs are male-derived structures that may impede female remating by physically obstructing the female genital tract. Although mating plugs exist in many taxa, the forces shaping their evolution are poorly understood. A male can clearly benefit if his mating plug secures his paternity. It is unclear, however, how plug efficacy can be maintained over evolutionary time in the face of counteracting selection on males’ ability to remove any plugs placed by their rivals. Here, I present a game-theory model and a simulation model to address this problem. The models predict that evolutionarily stable levels of mating-plug efficacy should be high when (1) the number of mating attempts per female is low; (2) the sex ratio is male-biased, and (3) males are sperm-limited. I discuss these results in the light of empirical data.