Sexual Strategies: Male and Female Mating Tactics

  • Dara N. Orbach
Part of the Ethology and Behavioral Ecology of Marine Mammals book series (EBEMM)


Conflicting interests between the sexes to enhance their fitness potentials have resulted in several sexual strategies used by odontocetes under various social and ecological contexts. Mating tactics are diverse and non-mutually exclusive and can entail both precopulatory and postcopulatory mechanisms. Males typically rove between females, and their mating tactics include display, contest, endurance, scramble, and sperm competition. Female mating tactics to maintain mate choice and control paternity are less well documented but may include signal discrimination, mate choice copying, evasive behaviors, polyestry, multiple mating, and modified genitalia. Species-specific examples of mating tactics are reviewed, as are potential costs and benefits, to better understand the fitness trade-offs associated with odontocete sociosexual relationships.


Competition Mate choice Mating tactic Odontocetes Sexual selection 



I thank Andreas Fahlman, Bernd Würsig, Melissa Brewer, and Jesse Farruggella for their insightful edits and suggestions on an earlier draft of this manuscript.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dara N. Orbach
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Department of Life SciencesTexas A&M Corpus ChristiCorpus ChristiUSA

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