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Do female leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) discriminate between previous mates and novel males?

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Females in numerous taxa engage in mating with more than one male within a breeding season, usually to gain direct or indirect benefits from their male partners. Although effort has been directed towards the benefits females derive from multiple mating, we have less information as to decisions females make when choosing to mate with more than one male and if her decision is contingent upon previous mating experience with a male. In some instances, females must decide whether or not to mate with a previous mate or a novel male, the outcome of which would have ramifications on the acquisition of direct and indirect benefits. In this study, we tested whether female leopard geckos, Eublepharis macularius, would forgo mating with a previous male partner in favor of a novel male. We found no difference in a female's willingness to copulate with a previous mate versus a novel male. However, we found that smaller females initiated copulation termination with a previous mate whereas larger females allowed males to terminate copulations. This pattern was not exhibited when smaller females were paired with novel partners. Thus, smaller females appear to discriminate between previous mates and novel males, favoring novel males as mates.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Ellington Hall, The University of Memphis, 3700 Walker Avenue, Memphis, TN 38152, USA


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