“Different aspects of male quality as a mate can vary independently. When this is the case, females may need to use multiple cues to accurately assess overall mate quality. We examined the pattern of mating preference in the cockroach Nauphoeta cinerea. Sexual conflict occurs in this species because male manipulation of female mating receptivity can result in reduced female fitness. We predicted that since females cannot remate within a single reproductive bout because of male manipulation, females should assess male mating history to avoid mating with males with low fertility caused by sperm exhaustion. In a mate-preference experiment, we found that females discriminated against males who had mated multiple times. Females also discriminated against males who had consorted with several females but had been prevented from mating with those females. Thus, females appeared to be able to detect cues on males that were derived from previous mates and to use this information to avoid mating with sperm-exhausted males. We suggest that females may commonly use multiple cues to assess different aspects of mate quality, especially when male quality changes over time. This is an under-studied phenomenon that could help explain individual variation in female mating preferences.”
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