Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 39–43

Fecundity, egg weight and longevity in relation to multiple matings in females of the monarch butterfly


  • L. Svärd
    • Department of ZoologyUniversity of Stockholm
  • C. Wiklund
    • Department of ZoologyUniversity of Stockholm

DOI: 10.1007/BF00303056

Cite this article as:
Svärd, L. & Wiklund, C. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (1988) 23: 39. doi:10.1007/BF00303056


In many insects nutrients transferred by the male at mating are later incorporated into both the eggs and soma of the mated females. Accordingly, it has been suggested that insect females can use these male-derived nutrients for somatic maintenance and enhancement of their fecundity and fitness of their offspring. I this paper we tested the validity of these predictions by studying the longevity and reproductive output of 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 times mated female monarchs Danaus plexippus, a nectar-feeding butterfly that is long-lived and strongly polyandrous and emerges as an adult without mature eggs. Females mated five times received ejaculates that corresponded to an average of 38% of their body weight at eclosion. However, we found that the number of times females had mated had no effect on their longevity, life-time fecundity, or egg weight. Although negative evidence should always be interpreted with caution, our study suggests that male-derived nutrients are less important for female longevity and reproductive output than are larval and adult food.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988