, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 695-707

Precopulation Sexual Selection in Nysius huttoni White (Heteroptera: Lygaeidae) in Relation to Morphometric Traits

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Nysius huttoni White is a polygamous bug, endemic to New Zealand, and an important pest of wheat and brassicas. This bug has a female-biased sexual size dimorphism but relative to body length, males have longer antennae, suggesting that the allometric scales of antennal–body relationships may be highly selective in sexual selection. Body weight and most morphometric traits measured have no effect on mating success of either sex. Males significantly preferred mating with females having thicker abdomens, more mature eggs, and longer ovipositors. This result suggests that males may select their mates on the basis of immediate reproductive benefit: fertilizing more eggs and ensuring better survival of these eggs. Males with large genital structures have mating advantages over those with small ones, suggesting that precopulation sexual selection in this species act on male genital traits rather than body weight and nonsexual traits. Finally, females significantly preferred males with greater slopes for the antennal-body relationship for mating. The allometry in the male antennal length may be an indicator of male reproductive fitness.