So-called nuptial gifts – often consisting of food or tokens – are typically bestowed by males on females as part of courtship and copulation rituals in many species. By manipulating the nuptial gifts that female insects receive during copulation, researchers have now shown that female preferences can be exploited by males who are "cheating" on their reproductive investment by presenting easily obtainable token gifts.
Gift-giving during courtship and copulation occurs across the animal kingdom, including in humans. Nuptial gifts can range from valuable nutritious food items to inedible tokens such as leaves or silk balloons. Gift-giving is of clear benefit to females when gifts are nutritious and thus valuable, but why females of some species require an inedible and worthless gift remains unexplained. In experiments reported this week, researchers Natasha LeBas and Leon Hockham from the University of St. Andrews removed the valuable (i.e., edible) nuptial gift that male empidid dance flies normally provide their female partner and replaced the gift with either a large edible gift or an inedible cotton ball token that resembles tokens given by other empidid fly species. The researchers found that although pairs copulated longest after presentation of a large edible gift, the females receiving the worthless cotton ball token were sufficiently tricked to allow males to copulate for as long as when the males provided a small nutritious gift. Males who substitute highly visible, but easily obtainable and worthless gifts may thus be able to invade a population of genuine gift-giving males.
The research demonstrates that, at least in some cases, females are susceptible to the invasion of so-called male cheating behaviour, and it suggests that the evolution of worthless gift-giving may arise though males sensory exploitation of female preferences for nutritious gifts.
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25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
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The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
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A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
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At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
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There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
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