Sphingidae Taxonomic Inventory

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Male mating history and female fecundity in the Lepidoptera: do male virgins make better partners?

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2005
Authors:L. M. Torres-Vila, Jennions M. D.
Journal:Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Start Page:318
Date Published:11/2004

"In insects, large ejaculate and associated materials, including spermatophores, appear to have evolved via sexual selection acting on males to either delay female remating or to increase the rate of egg-laying. It is also possible, however, that females use nutrients transferred during mating to increase their lifetime fecundity. If so, male ejaculate size may also have evolved under natural selection as a form of paternal investment. In Lepidoptera, males with a greater number of prior matings tend to produce smaller spermatophores. However, the reported effects of male mating history on female fecundity vary widely among species. We therefore performed a meta-analysis using data from 29 studies of 25 species. Overall, the reproductive output of females mated to virgin males was significantly higher than that of females mated to sexually experienced males (Hedges’ d=0.33, P<0.01). A sample size of around 145 females per male mating type is required to detect an effect of this size with 80% statistical power at α=0.05 (two-tailed). There was no difference in mean effect size between butterflies/skippers and moths. After controlling for any effect of taxonomic group, however, the mean effect size for polyandrous species was significantly greater than that for monandrous species (Hedges’ d=0.45 vs 0.25, P=0.01). We then discuss possible reasons why male mating history, presumably acting through its effect on spermatophore size, might have a stronger effect in polyandrous than monandrous species."

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith