, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp 227-233
Date: 05 Feb 2003

The effects of male and female genotype on variance in male fertilization success in the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum)

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The number of eggs fertilized by a male at any given copulation (fertilization success) is affected by a large number of factors. Male insemination and sperm competition success and various female structures and/or processes that bias paternity in favor of some males over others (cryptic female choice) are all likely to affect fertilization success. We suggest that more comprehensive measures of male fertilization success can increase our understanding of postcopulatory sexual selection. To improve our understanding of the importance of various sources of variance in male fertilization success, we conducted a series of experiments using flour beetles. Different wild-type strains were used in reciprocal double mating experiments, against a phenotypic marker strain. We assessed the relative effects of female genotype, male genotype and mating order on independent and inclusive measures of male defense ability (P 1), male offense ability (P 2), and female remating behavior. Female genotype influenced both P 1 and P 2, and male genotype interacted strongly with female genotype in its effect on P 2. We also documented an interaction between female and male genotypes in the effects of mating on female remating behavior, such that females tended to remate most rapidly when mated to males of their own genotype. It is clear from our experiments that cryptic female choice influences the pattern of fertilization success in flour beetles, and we suggest that cryptic female choice may often be an important component of postcopulatory sexual selection. Future investigations would benefit from studying the multiple components of variance in male fertilization success.

Communicated by L. Simmons