Main Article Content
By Trevor Hogue, Molecular and Cell Biology
Advisor: George Uetz
Presentation ID: AM_ATRIUM24
Abstract: Mate preference is an important part of reproductive success, and studying whether animals exhibit a choice in mates is important in understanding the evolution of mating systems. Various factors, specifically food and water availability, environmental conditions, and habitat changes, could potentially affect mate preferences. The terminal-investment hypothesis states that under stress, females will invest more in current reproduction than in future reproduction (Creighton, Heflin and Belk, 2009), and exhibit different mate preferences than they would under less stressful conditions. In this experiment, we examined if stress - specifically food deprivation - affects mate choice by female Schizocosa ocreata. It is known that females prefer to mate with high-quality, large-tufted males. It was hypothesized that well-fed females would prefer to mate with high-quality males, but that starved females will behave as if copulation is a terminal investment and mate with either low or high-quality males. We used digital video playback to offer females a choice of high and low quality male S. ocreata. Female S. ocreata were placed into three treatment groups - 9-day, 6-day, and 1-day starved. They were then placed in an arena with two iPods showing male S. ocreata of different fitness levels - either low-quality (small tufts) or high-quality (large tufts). These trials were recorded and the female receptivity displays (tandem leg extension, pivot, and settle) were measured. These results will be analyzed and help to determine whether food deprivation affects female mate choice.