The selection of a partner may be influenced by his diet because he achieves sexual maturity, as research has shown.
Beetle research is the first to combine animal consumption during sexual development with its breeding habits.
This could help to understand the likely impact on animal behavior, because food availability varies depending on the changing climate in the future.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh conducted tests using burrowing beetles that mature sexually a few days after reaching adulthood.
Researchers raised groups of male and female beetles from birth before placing them at potential mating partners. Some of the beetles received less food than others, both during their sexual development and when placed next to the opposite sex.
Studies have shown that females that at some point in their lives were undernourished preferred to be associated with well-fed males. This may be due to the fact that they try to optimize the health of their offspring by choosing a partner in a relatively good condition.
Males who were denied food during sexual development also behaved differently from those who did not. Malnourished males spent more time making courtship signals to avoid physical competition with other males for their colleagues, the researchers suggest.
Researchers say their findings – this diet during development affects sexual behavior – may be common in other species. Future research could investigate this and how this can affect the offspring of affected animals.
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Materials provided by University of Edinburgh. Note: The content can be edited for style and length.