The optimal number of mate partners for females rarely coincides with that for males, leading to a potential sexual conflict over multiple-partner mating. This suggests that the population sex ratio may affect multiple-partner mating and thus multiple paternity. We investigate the relationship between multiple paternity and the population sex ratio in the polygynandrous common lizard (Lacerta vivipara). In six populations the adult sex ratio was biased toward males, and in another six populations the adult sex ratio was biased toward females, the latter corresponding to the average adult sex ratio encountered in natural populations. In males the frequency and the degree of polygyny were lower in male-biased populations, as expected if competition among males determines polygyny. In females the frequency of polyandry was not different between treatments, and polyandrous females produced larger clutches, suggesting that polyandry might be adaptive. However, in male-biased populations females suffered from reduced reproductive success compared to female-biased populations, and the number of mate partners increased with female body size in polyandrous females. Polyandrous females of male-biased populations showed disproportionately more mating scars, indicating that polyandrous females of male-biased populations had more interactions with males and suggesting that the degree of multiple paternity is controlled by male sexual harassment. Our results thus imply that polyandry may be hierarchically controlled, with females controlling when to mate with multiple partners and male sexual harassment being a proximate determinant of the degree of multiple paternity. The results are also consistent with a sexual conflict in which male behaviors are harmful to females.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 59 • No. 11