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Female Availability and Multiple Courtship in Male Red-Spotted Newts, Notophthalmus Viridescens (Amphibia): Decisions That Maximize Male Mating Success

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1. The influence of female availability on the sexual behaviour of male newts, Notophthalmus viridescens, was investigated. Only courtships of the amplexus type were observed to occur. 2. In the presence of four potential mates, the majority of males engaged in one or two courtships. Dividing their time equally between both of their partners, males completing two courtships displayed at a higher rate than males completing one courtship with one female available. However, the former males remained in amplexus for the same total amount of time. 3. Males courting two females were just as likely to inseminate at least one of their partners as were males completing one courtship. Occasionally, males in the former group inseminated both of their partners. 4. Males apparently preferred novel females as mates, seldom courting previous partners. 5. These results provide further evidence of the complexity of male sexual behaviour in Notophthalmus viridescens. Data derived from field studies of this newt suggest that males may be exposed to aggregations of females in the natural environment.

Affiliations: 1: (Department of Biology, The Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, England


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