, Volume 62, Issue 5, pp 721-728
Date: 02 Oct 2007

Sexual selection and female fitness in Drosophila simulans

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

There is a current debate over the net fitness consequences of sexual selection. Do preferred males increase female fitness or are these males manipulating females for their own benefit? The evidence is mixed. Some studies find that mating with attractive males increases female fitness components, while others show that preferred males decrease measures of female fitness. In this study, we examined some of the fitness consequences of pre-copulatory sexual selection in Drosophila simulans. Virgin females were either paired with one male and given an opportunity for one copulation or were exposed simultaneously to two males. This allowed us to compare female preference (copulation latency) and fitness (longevity, lifetime productivity and rate of offspring production) both with and without the influence of male–male competition. When females had access to a single male, neither female longevity, productivity, nor short-term rate of productivity were associated with female preference, and although females mated more quickly with larger males, male size was also not associated with any female fitness measure. Inclusion of male–male competition showed that female longevity was negatively affected by preference, while productivity and rate of productivity was unaffected. This latter experiment also indicated that females preferred larger males, but again, male size was not associated with female fitness. These results indicate that females may not benefit from mating with preferred males, but they may incur survival costs.

Communicated by M. Siva-Jothy