Sexual conflict over mating in a spider: Increased fecundity does not compensate for the costs of polyandry

Alexei A. Maklakov, Yael Lubin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    38 Scopus citations


    Female multiple mating (polyandry) is a widespread but costly behavior that remains poorly understood. Polyandry may arise when whatever benefits females accrue from multiple mating outweigh the costs, or males manipulate females against the females' best interests. In a polyandrous spider Stegodyphus lineatus females may mate with up to five males, but behave aggressively toward additional males after the first mating. Female aggressiveness may act to select for better quality males. Alternatively, females may try to avoid superfluous matings. To test these alternatives, we allocated females into single-mating (SM) and double-mating treatments. Double-mated females either accepted (DM) or rejected (RE) the second male. DM females laid more eggs, but did not produce more offspring than SM and RE females. Offspring of DM females were smaller at dispersal than offspring of SM and RE females. Also, nest failure was significantly more common in DM females. Paternal variables did not influence female reproductive success, whereas maternal body condition explained much of the variation. We show that polyandry is costly for females despite the production of larger clutches and suggest that multiple mating results from male manipulation of female remating behavior.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1135-1140
    Number of pages6
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - 1 Jan 2004


    • Antagonistic coevolution
    • Direct selection
    • Multiple mating
    • Sexual selection
    • Stegodyphus lineatus

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Genetics
    • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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