Behaviour 2019
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How does courtship display complexity affect attention to female feedback?
Brooklyn Samons, Laura Sullivan-Beckers. Murray State University, Murray, KY, United States

In sexually-reproducing species, males advertise through noisy and dynamic signaling environments. In arachnids, mating signals are shaped not only by transmission properties of the environment and female preferences, but also by the risk of sexual cannibalism. In the wolf spider, Schizocosa rovneri, males attend to female feedback to optimize transmission of their simple display. Interestingly, males of the sister species, S. ocreata, do not. These species have very similar life histories, but differ in the complexity of their courtship displays. We investigate whether the multiple components of the S. ocreata display act as back-up signals, enabling males to be ‘heard’ in variable signaling environments. If this is the case, it may relax selection on males to attend to and adjust behavior with female feedback. We test the effectiveness of the male courtship display in mating trials conducted in environments that block the transmission of one or more courtship elements. We report on changes in male display behavior, female aggression, female receptivity, and male mating success. The results of our study will shed light on the evolution of complex, multi-modal courtship displays.