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Increasing evidence suggests that secondary sexual traits reflect immunocompetence of males in many animal species. This study experimentally investigated whether a parasite-like immunological challenge via a nylon implant affects sexual attractiveness of males in Tenebrio molitor L. (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) Although a single immunological challenge significantly reduced sexual attractiveness and locomotor activity of males, it had no adverse effect on their survival. A second immune challenge of the same males increased their attractiveness. However, it was found that the repeated challenge significantly reduced locomotor activity of males and caused higher mortality. This result indicates terminal investment on sexual signaling, which is supposedly based on a trade-off between pheromone production and energy expenditures needed for such activities as recovery of immune system and locomotor activity. When the third implantation was carried out in the same group of males, melanization of nylon implants was found to be lower in more attractive than in less attractive males. This suggests that males that became sexually attractive after the second immune challenge did not invest in recovery of their immune system.
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