Male–male competition and alternative male mating tactics influence female behavior and fertility in Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes)
Intense male–male competition driven by high male density during mating can result in the evolution of alternative mating tactics that increase male fertilization success. The effects of alternative male mating tactics on females can range from increased fertilization and genetic benefits to decreased fertilization and loss of paternal care. However, the influence of male competitive behavior and alternative mating tactics on female behavior and reproductive success has seldom been addressed. In this work, I investigated the occurrence of alternative male mating tactics and their potential influence on female behavior and fertilization success in Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes). Groups of one, two, or four males competed for access to a female in a repeated-measures experiment. Male density had a significant influence on female reproductive output as a result of a change in competitive mode from contest to scramble competition that coincided with more disruption during mating when more than one male attempted to mate. By contrast, sneaking during mating was beneficial to males, as more than one male sired offspring in most spawnings involving sneaker males. These results suggest that there may be conflict between males and females over mating, such that females are detrimentally affected by the occurrence of alternative mating tactics, whereas males may benefit from sneak mating. The occurrence of conflict between the sexes can be related to ecological factors, such as male density, which cause behavioral change in both males and females.