Costs that individuals incur through mating can play an important role in understanding the evolution of life histories and senescence, particularly in promiscuous species. Copulation costs, ranging from energy expenditure to reduced longevity, are widely studied in insects but have received substantially less attention in other taxa. One cost of mating, the energetic cost, is poorly studied across all taxa despite its potential importance for the many species where copulation is physically demanding and/or frequent. Here, we investigated the energetic cost of mating in both male and female dumpling squid (Euprymna tasmanica). In this species, copulation can last up to 3 h and requires that the male physically restrains the female. We report that the act of copulation halves the swimming endurance of both sexes, and that they take up to 30 min to recover. Such a reduction in post-copulatory performance may have important implications for predator avoidance, foraging ability and energy allocation. Therefore, quantifying this cost is essential to understand the evolution of reproductive strategies and behaviours such as female receptivity and male and female mating frequency.
- Received June 12, 2012.
- Accepted June 27, 2012.
- This journal is © 2012 The Royal Society