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Evolutionary stable strategies

The effect of sexual selection on alternative male mating strategies

The main goal of this study is to understand how sexual selection drives the evolution of alternative male mating strategies. Males of the nursery web spider, Pisaura mirabilis offer nuptial gifts in the form om an insect prey wrapped in silk to females to obtain copulation. They also show some unusual mating behaviours, death feigning and construction of worthless nuptial gifts as alternative mating strategies.

We will investigate how these traits co-vary with female mate choice and the intensity of sexual selection in field populations. Our aim is to test how female mating patterns and intensity of sperm competition lead to an evolutionary equilibrium where polymorphisms in male traits can persist in a population.

Bevillings-ID: DFF – 4002-00328

Det Frie Forskningsråd | Natur og Univers


  • determine whether behavioural polymorphisms in male traits are stable or condition dependent.
  • determine female preference for male traits
  • investigate female natural mating frequencies using molecular markers
  • develop an individual based model to explore how the interaction between male traits and female preference shapes trait polymorphism


Prof. Gabriele Uhl, University of Greifswald, Germany

Prof. Frederik Hendrickx, Ghent University, Belgium

Ass. Prof. Cristina Tuni, University of Munich, Germany.

Dr. Maria Jose Albo, Laboratory of Ethology, Ecology and Evolution, IIBCE. Montevideo, Uruguay

PhD student Paolo Ghislandi, Aarhus University