3 years ago

Sex-specific rejection in mate-guarding pair formation in the intertidal copepod, <i>Tigriopus californicus</i>

Ronald S. Burton, Satomi Tsuboko-Ishii

by Satomi Tsuboko-Ishii, Ronald S. Burton

Securing a potential mate is one of the most important processes in sexual reproduction of animals. Intertidal copepods of the genus Tigriopus show mate-guarding behavior where a male captures a female and continues to clasp her for up to two weeks prior to copulation. Although these copepods form a mate-guarding pair between a male and a female with high accuracy, interactions between the sexes in pair formation have not been well described and the mechanism allowing successful male-female pair formation is not yet understood. In this study, we performed experiments with Tigriopus californicus to analyze the behavior of both a capturer (male) and a captured individual (female or male) in formation of a guarding pair. While capturer males were attracted by both females and males, capture of virgin males was terminated in a significantly shorter time than that of virgin females. However, when presented freshly killed females or males, regardless of the sex of the body, capturer males continued to clasp the body for a comparable time as in an attempt on a living female. Our results suggest that a sex-specific rejection signal actively sent by captured males prevents male-male pair formation. Experiments also suggest that mated females reject an attempt of pair formation. To our knowledge, this is the first study to suggest involvement of active rejection by a captured individual in facilitation of reproductively successful male-female guarding pair formation in the genus Tigriopus.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0183758

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