, Volume 21, Issue 10-11, pp 651-664

Sperm competition and the significance of female multiple mating in the predatory miteParasitus fimetorum

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Females of the predatory miteParasitus fimetorum (Gamasida; Parasitina) inhabiting animal manure indiscriminately copulate with many mates. The sperm competition between the males was estimated by electrophoresis of allozymes and the effects of multiple mating on female reproduction were investigated. When females were forced to mate only once, their fecundity decreased drastically compared to the case of multiple mating (but longevity was unaffected). When one female mated with two males, the outcome of sperm competition depended greatly upon the mating interval. When the second mating occurred immediately after the first, the female fecundity decreased as in the case of single mating and the second male fertilized only a few eggs. However, when there was an interval of 1 day between the two matings, the females achieved normal fecundity and the second male fertilized approximately half the eggs. This suggests that the spermatophore deposited by the first male may act as a short-term copulatory ‘plug’ in the female's genital opening. When one female mated with several males with 1 day intervals, three or more males shared fertilization of the eggs. This study suggests that the multiple mating of females is a necessary stimulus to continue oogenesis and some physiological factors for this stimulation may exist in spermatophores.