Effect of Adult Feeding on Male Mating Behaviour in the Butterfly, Bicyclus anynana (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae)
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- Lewis, Z. & Wedell, N. J Insect Behav (2007) 20: 201. doi:10.1007/s10905-007-9075-2
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Many species of lepidopterans supplement their nectar diet with foods rich in nitrogen and minerals, which are present only in trace amounts in nectar. We examined the effect of adult diet on mating behaviour and spermatophore characteristics in male Bicyclus anynana (Butler, 1879) butterflies, which feed on rotten fruits as adults. We found little effect of adult diet on male reproduction in terms of mating rate and sperm production, although males fed on fruit produced larger spermatophores on their first mating compared to males fed sugar only. We also examined how males allocate sperm across matings. Males ejaculate larger spermatophores during their first mating, and produce spermatophores containing decreasingly fewer non-fertile sperm with number of matings performed. Males that produced more non-fertile sperm on their first mating had reduced lifespan possibly indicating a trade-off between sperm production and adult longevity. It is suggested that adult diet has little affect on male ejaculate production and males feed on fruit to supplement their energetic carbon requirements.