Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 239–246

Male choice, fighting ability, assortative mating and the intensity of sexual selection in the milkweed longhorn beetle, Tetraopes tetraophthalmus (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae)

  • Denson Kelly McLain
  • Robert D. Boromisa

DOI: 10.1007/BF00292176

Cite this article as:
McLain, D.K. & Boromisa, R.D. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (1987) 20: 239. doi:10.1007/BF00292176


Over five hundred adult longhorn milkweed beetles, Tetraopes tetraophthalmus, were individually marked and their copulatory success followed for one month in a pasture of Asclepias syriaca in northern Indiana, USA. Migration of beetles from the field site was greatest from areas of low population density. Dispersal was significantly greater for males experiencing low copulatory success; a similar but nonsignificant trend was observed for females. Large males, which displayed greater site tenacity than small males, copulated more frequently than small males because of their ability to displace small males from females. Both large and small males demonstrated a preference for large females in laboratory tests. Male preference in combination with aggressive displacement of small males results in size-assortative mating which was much stronger under conditions of high population density. It contributes to variance in male reproductive success since female size is known to be correlated with fecundity and offspring viability. Variance in copulatory success is similar for males and females, suggesting that both sexes experience similar intensities of sexual selection with respect to this component of reproductive success. Futhermore, comparison of this with other studies suggests that the intensity of sexual selection among males is positively correlated with the variance in body size which appears to be under both stabilizing and directional sexual selection in males but not in females.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denson Kelly McLain
    • 1
  • Robert D. Boromisa
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA