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Sexual ornaments reveal the strength of melanization immune response and for longevity of male paper wasps

  • Souza, Andre Rodrigues de
  • Simoes, Talitta Guimaraes
  • Rantala, Markus J.
  • Santos, Eduardo Fernando
  • Lino-Netto, Jose
  • Nascimento, Fabio Santos do
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2018
Repositório Institucional UNESP
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It has been recently suggested that female mate choice, based on sexually selected ornaments, is an important component of social wasps' reproductive biology. The correlates of male ornaments that could be of a female's interest, however, remain to be investigated. Males of the Neotropical paper wasp Polistes simillimus have sexually dimorphic melanin-based black spots on their faces. In this species, male spots work like sexual ornaments, as it has been experimentally demonstrated that females prefer sexual partners with a higher proportion of black pigment on their faces. We have shown that, under laboratory conditions, male sexual ornamentation positively predicts the strength of the melanization immune response and longevity. Therefore, in P. simillimus, melanin-based facial patterns (ornaments) seem to be honest indicators of male quality.

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