Seasonal variation in male-female competition, cooperation and selfish hoarding in a monogamous songbird
Males of a variety of taxa occasionally steal food secured by their mates. In some spiders and insects, males rely entirely on this form of intraspecific kleptoparasitism for their subsistence. However, this male strategy may be costly for females and a variety of different female counteradaptations have been proposed. In Zeus bugs (Phoreticovelia spp.), males ride on the back of their mates for extended periods and females produce a gland secretion that males feed on. By experimentally occluding the dorsal glands in females and varying food availability, we show that nuptial feeding by females reduces the extent to which the males kleptoparasitize their mates. We suggest that females have, at least in part, evolved this unique form of nuptial feeding as a counteradaptation to reduce the rate of kleptoparasitism by males.