Navigation Links
Aggressive male mating behavior can endanger species

This release is available in German.

Aggressive male mating behavior might well be a successful reproductive strategy for the individual but it can drive the species to extinction, an international research team headed by evolutionary biologist Daniel Rankin from the University of Zurich has demonstrated in a mathematical model.

Evolutionary biologists have long debated whether the behavior of the individual is able to influence processes on a population or species level. The possibility of selection at species level is still contro-versial. Using a mathematical model, an international team of researchers led by Daniel Rankin, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Zurich, has now demonstrated that aggressive male sexual behavior not only harms the female, but can also cause entire populations to die out. The paper re-cently published in the journal The American Naturalist was made possible by funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

For their study, the scientists concentrated on the extreme sexual conflict of seed beetles, which are considered as pests in agriculture. Male seed beetles have barbed penises which make it impossible for the female to shake off an unwelcome mate. The aggressive males have a higher reproductive rate as they are more successful than less aggressive males; however, they harm the female during the mating process. The researchers have now shown that the greater mating success of aggressive males can result in the males of a species becoming more aggressive in general. The aggression spiral has dramatic consequences for the population and species: More females are harmed during mating and die from their injuries. This means the females become scarcer as a resource for the males and the species eventually dies out. Individual interests and the interests of the population contrast greatly in the present case.

In economics, such clashes of individual and group interests are referred to as the "tragedy of the commons". The principle refers to the overexploitation of collective resources and serves, among other things, to describe human dilemmas related to environmental pollution and global warming. In nature, the tragedy of the commons is limited as aggressive behavior is costly for the individual. This also explains why such severe sexual conflicts as in the case of the seed beetle cannot be observed everywhere. Species with too high an injury rate during reproduction have driven themselves to ex-tinction in the course of evolution. In the case studied, the female's tactical response is to steer clear of aggressive males.

"In nature, there are many examples of tragedies of the commons," says Daniel Rankin. What he means is that understanding how nature solves the tragedy of the commons could also inspire solu-tions to human problems.


Contact: Daniel J. Rankin
University of Zurich

Related biology news :

1. High percentage of omega-3s in the blood may boost risk of aggressive prostate cancer
2. Quick, easy test identifies aggressive type of lung cancer in never-smokers
3. Study: mechanism that controls cell movement linked to tumors becoming more aggressive
4. The most aggressive forms of breast cancer elude cellular control mechanisms in order to expand
5. New arsenic nanoparticle blocks aggressive breast cancer
6. CSHL team shows how loss of key protein promotes aggressive form of leukemia
7. Aggressive action to reduce soot emissions needed to meet climate change goals
8. Thymoquinone induced oxidative stress targets highly aggressive prostate cancers
9. Biologists discover bacterial defense mechanism against aggressive oxygen
10. Blood-flow metabolism mismatch predicts pancreatic tumor aggressiveness
11. Possible drug target found for one of the most aggressive breast cancers
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/4/2015)... 2015 --> ... by Transparency Market Research "Home Security Solutions Market - Global ... - 2022", the global home security solutions market is expected to ... The market is estimated to expand at a CAGR ... 2022. Rising security needs among customers at homes, the ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based ... clinical research, is pleased to announce that it has ... as one of only three finalists for a ... and Growing" category. The Tekne Awards honor Minnesota ... technology innovation and leadership. iMedNet™ eClinical ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 29, 2015 Daon, a global leader in ... released a new version of its IdentityX Platform ... North America have already installed IdentityX v4.0 ... a FIDO UAF certified server component as ... activate FIDO features. These customers include some of the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... Dec. 1, 2015  The Minnesota High Tech Association ... 2015 Tekne Award in the Small and Growing Healthcare ... Minneapolis Convention Center, the Tekne ... significant role in developing new technologies that positively impact ... world. Clostridium difficile infection ( C. ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ADDISON, Texas (PRWEB) , ... ... ... International , a leading relationship marketing company specializing in scientifically backed, age-defying ... magazine’s January 2016 issue, which highlights the exponential success and unrivaled opportunities ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Matthew “Tex” VerMilyea, PhD, HCLD, has joined Texas ... oversee all IVF lab procedures as well as continue his research efforts into the ... miles to Auckland, New Zealand to bring home a High Complexity Clinical Laboratory Director ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , ... November 30, 2015 , ... Global Stem Cells Group announced the ... in the cities of Arica and Iquique in northern Chile. The facilities are part of ... the most advanced protocols and techniques in stem cell medicine to patients from around the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: