Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 619–631 | Cite as

The Effect of Abdominal Spines on Female Mating Frequency and Fecundity in a Water Strider



Conflict between the sexes over mating decision may result in antagonistic coevolution in structures that increase control over copulation. In Aquarius paludum both females and males have long abdominal spines. We tested the hypothesis that abdominal spines increase female ability to resist male mating attempts and reduce the costs of mating in A. paludum. We manipulated female spine length and observed female mating and egg-production rate in two different studies. We found that females with intact spines succeeded to reject male mating attempt more often than females with removed spines. Intact females also mated less often than females with removed or shortened spines. Male presence and mating rate increased female egg number. Our results thus support the hypothesis that abdominal spines help female to reject male mating attempts but contrary to predictions, we found that A. paludum females somehow benefit from multiple matings in spite of the sexual conflict.


sexual conflict sexual selection water striders evolutionary arms race egg production 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katri Ronkainen
    • 1
  • Arja Kaitala
    • 1
  • Riikka Huttunen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of OuluOuluFinland

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