Female mountain log skinks are more likely to mate with males that court more, not males that are dominant
Animal Behaviour 75(Part 2): 529-538
To understand the evolution and exaggeration of male traits, we need to clarify the combined and separate contributions of male competition and mate choice to male reproductive success. Here, I tested whether female skinks discriminate between males based on morphological or behavioural traits in a sequential mate choice experiment to identify whether females prefer dominant males. A total of 48 females were tested of which, 26 mated with at least one male. Some females mated multiply with the same male or with both males. Females were more likely to mate with males that courted more and did not prefer males with orange ventral colour, which is indicative of male dominance. Females may use courtship as a cue to male quality because it was positively correlated with the duration of the mating grasp, during which time the male has to carry the female, and mating grasp is also positively correlated with mating duration. Interestingly, males courted smaller females more than larger females, despite the fact that larger females are more fecund. The results of this study suggest that the two processes of sexual selection may be favouring different male traits, resulting in male competition favouring male orange colour and mate choice favouring male courtship.