Macquarie University
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Pre- and post-copulatory sexual selection in a sexually cannibalistic praying mantid

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posted on 2022-03-28, 00:59 authored by Anuradhi Jayaweera
Animals have evolved intriguing mating strategies, through sexual selection, that presumably maximize their lifetime reproductive success. Sexually cannibalistic systems are a fascinating mating system in which to study the evolution of reproductive behaviour. This allows us to understand how male and female mating strategies evolve through the inter-relationship of sexual selection and sexual cannibalism. Even though sexually cannibalistic mating systems are widely used in describing female mating strategies, evidence for male mating strategies in such systems is sparse. Therefore, this thesis investigates how sexual selection and sexual cannibalism shape pre- and post-mating strategies in the false garden mantid Pseudomantis albofimbriata with a focus on male mating behaviour. More specifically, this research provides evidence for; 1) the selection of male traits that aid in effective and efficient mate location where males with more trichoid sensilla on their antennae locate females more quickly, 2) context dependent strategic male mating resource investment in response to sexual cannibalism (but not female quality), 3) potential post-copulatory paternity assurance mechanisms through a prolonged female refractory period. Finally, my thesis provides evidence and explanations for why males do not reject highly risky females in a sexually cannibalistic mating system. My thesis makes contributions to behavioural ecology and evolution, as it explores and describes this intriguing mating system from the male perspective.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter outline -- Chapter 1: Male antenna morphology and its effect on scramble competition in false garden mantids -- Chapter 2: The risk of sexual cannibalism and its effect on male approach and mating behaviour in a praying mantid -- Chapter 3: Effect of sexual cannibalism on male ejaculatory expenditure in a praying mantid -- Chapter 4: The Effect of Female Quality on Male Ejaculatory Expenditure and Reproductive Success in a Praying Mantid -- Chapter 5: Chemical signalling and context dependent polyandry in a praying mantid -- Summary and Conclusions


Includes bibliographic references Thesis by publication.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Department of Biological Sciences

Department, Centre or School

Department of Biological Sciences

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Mariella Herberstein

Additional Supervisor 1

Katherine L. Barry


Copyright Anuradhi Jayaweera 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (viii, 103 pages) illustrations, graphs, tables

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