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Aggressiveness in mating

These water striders have been used in experiments to understand the evolution of selfish behavior. Males who harass females drive them away, and so mating success is reduced for all males in a pool. Recent experiments show that when in the same pool, aggressive males have greater mating success than non-aggressive males. But the overall mating success of such a mixed pool is one-third of the success in a pool without aggressive males. This finding illustrates how natural selection can favor aggression even when it would seem a bad strategy -- a "tragedy of the commons." (Eldakar et al. 2009)


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