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Sexual cannibalism also exhibits an intriguing interplay between sexual and natural selection pressures. Depending on the timing of cannibalism (pre or post-mating), it can be either the process by which genes are selectively favored, or the instrument of their elimination. The relationship between female mate choice and natural selection through cannibalism may not be static, but contingent on the shifting value of the male as mate or prey item (Persons and Uetz 2005). Further research into the timing of sexual cannibalism could expand an awareness of this dynamic.

Diverse sexual cannibal species

Spiders and mantises are the basis of most research on sexual cannibalism, but the behavior has been anecdotally and experimentally observed in a variety of organism orders.

picture of horned nudibranch Herminssenda Crassicori
The horned nudibranch Herminssenda Crassicoris will consume members of its own species while mating if the male is small enough to be ingested (Megina and Cervera 2002). Image :Lemurdillo http://www.flickr.com/photos/lemurdillo/2650327503/in/set-72157607190457016/ .
picture of copepods
Copepods, small marine arthropods that include many species of plankton, occasionally exhibit sewual cannibalism. Image :Ethan Hein http://www.flickr.com/photos/ethanhein/2250890367/ .
picture of scorpions
Sexual cannibalism is rare in scorpions, but males have still developed the behavior of rapidly backing away from the female after copulation has terminated. Image :Andres N. Hayes http://www.flickr.com/photos/26432312@N06/2845311259/ .


Nuptial gifts, why don’t males offer a proxy?

Males of some species provide “nuptial gifts,” or alluring food items, to females during a mating interaction (Choe 1995). The purpose of the gift is to entice females to accept the aspiring mate, and often his success is contingent on the size of the gift procured. The donation of foraged prey before mating is prominently seen in birds and insects, though one spider, Pisaura mirabilis, displays this courting ritual as well (Stalhandske 2001). Some insects, centipedes, and onycophorans offer nuptial gifts in the form of seminal secretions. When sexually cannibalized males offer their own body parts or soma as nourishment, they may also be viewed as extending a nuptial gift (Stalhandske 2001). But why don’t male mantises and spiders offer a “cheaper” version of the nuptial gift (a prey item, a nonessential body part, etc.), instead of opting for total self-sacrifice?

One study uses an experimental method of hypothesis testing to determine the value of the nuptial gift and its effectiveness as a proxy for the male suitor. Stalhandske summarized three hypotheses for gift giving:

  • The nuptial gift could represent a paternal investment. If the nutrients of the “gift” increase female fecundity and, subsequently, the fitness of the male’s own offspring, the offering has adaptive value. According to this hypothesis, nuptial gift giving arose from natural selection (Stalhandske 2001).
  • The gift could represent a male mating effort. Its primary purpose is to tempt the female to mate, distract the female while the male assumes a copulatory position, and maximize ejaculate transfer. According to this hypothesis, gift giving is derived from sexual selection.
  • Gift giving could be a mechanism for protecting the male from sexual cannibalism. By this hypothesis, the nuptial gift promotes male survivability and thus is a consequence of natural selection (Stalhandske 2001).

Questions & Answers

What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Mockingbird tales: readings in animal behavior. OpenStax CNX. Jan 12, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11211/1.5
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