, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 33-38

Fertilisation success in the fly Dryomyza anilis (Dryomyzidae): effects of male size and the mating situation

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Abstract

Male fertilisation success in relation to male size and the mating situation (ordinary pair formation with a single, nonvirgin female vs. take overs) was examined in the fly Dryomyza anilis. In ordinary matings, large males achieved higher fertilisation success than small ones when they were the second to mate with the female. Take overs differ from ordinary pair formation in that the second male experiences intensified sperm competition. This is because in take overs the female is not able to discharge any of the sperm inseminated by the first male as she usually does before a new mating. Compared with ordinary matings, take overs reduced the fertilisation success of the second male by 8–10%, whereas that of the first male was 7–14% higher in take overs. Even though the intruder was always larger than the paired male his superior fertilisation success did not compensate for the effect of the sperm already present in the female. In D. anilis, males can increase their fertilisation success by tapping the female's external genitalia with their claspers or having several copulation bouts per mating. Thus, in a take over, the intruder could respond to the intensified sperm competition by performing more tapping sequences per copulation bout or more copulation bouts per mating. In matings observed in the wild, males performed more tapping sequences after a take over than after pair formation with a single female, although the difference was not significant. The results show that there are differences in fertilisation success between males of different size. In addition, different mating situations can result in considerable variation in the fertilisation success of an individual male. Higher fertilisation success for the first male after a take over may be significant, in particular, for the reproductive success of small males, which frequently lose their females to large males.