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Sexual Selection and Paternal Investment in Insects

Randy Thornhill
The American Naturalist
Vol. 110, No. 971 (Jan. - Feb., 1976), pp. 153-163
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2459884
Page Count: 11
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Sexual Selection and Paternal Investment in Insects
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Abstract

One way in which males offset the disparity in relative parental investment is to provide food to the female or offspring in the context of reproduction. In insects, nutritional paternal investment during reproduction may be of three major types: (1) females may receive nourishment from a glandular product of the male; (2) females received nourishment from food captured or collected by the male; and (3) the male himself may be eaten. I have shown elsewhere that the feeding of the female by the male during copulation in insects of the family Bittacidae probably evolved by female preference (i.e., intersexual selection) for males willing and capable of increasing their parental investment during reproduction. I hypothesize that female preference for greater male parental investment may have been the selective context for the evolution of all types of male investment patterns in insects. I also suggest some ways in which my argument might be tested.

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