Talk Cristina Tuni

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A journey inside the nuptial gift of a spider

  • Datum: 23.02.2017
  • Uhrzeit: 13:00 - 14:00
  • Vortragender: Dr. Cristina Tuni
  • LMU Munich, Dept. Behavioural Ecology
  • Ort: Seewiesen
  • Raum: Seminar Room House 4, Tea & Coffee 12:30h
  • Gastgeber: Prof. Dr. Michaela Hau
  • Kontakt: mhau@orn.mpg.de
Nuptial gifts, consisting of male donations of nutritious substances to females, are widespread and diverse. They are used by males to attract females, secure sperm transfer and as parental investment. In a series of experimental laboratory studies I have explored the evolutionary significance of gift giving in the spider Pisaura mirabilis, addressing both, male and female reproductive interests. Males exploit female foraging motivation by offering an insect prey wrapped in silk, that is eaten by the female during mating. The gift increases both, male mating success and fertilization success by prolonging sperm transfer. Interestingly, males also produce worthless (non-nutritive) gifts consisting of prey leftovers rather than genuine prey gifts. These males successfully ‘cheat’ females into mating while minimizing the costs associated with gift production (i.e. a missed meal), but suffer from shortened copulations. Results from my on-going research address the potential ecological drivers for worthless gifts in a natural spider population, such as intra-sexual competition and prey availability, and unearth how nuptial gifts may become a target of sexually antagonistic co-evolution, where cheating via worthless gifts leads to female resistance to the trait.
 
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