Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp 227–233 | Cite as

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

Original Article


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 (P1), male offense ability (P2), and female remating behavior. Female genotype influenced both P1 and P2, and male genotype interacted strongly with female genotype in its effect on P2. 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.


Sperm competition Cryptic female choice Speciation Reproductive isolation Sexual selection 



We are grateful to R.W. Beeman and M.S. Haas for providing the beetle stocks used, and for helping with practical advice. This study was made possible by the generous financial support of the Memory of J.C. Kempe Foundation (grant to T.N.), the DAAD Doktorandstipendium im Rahmen des gemeinsamen Hochschulsonderprogramms III von Bund und Ländern (fellowship to C.F.), and the Swedish Research Council (grant to G.A.).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Animal Ecology, Department of Ecology and Environmental ScienceUmeå UniversityUmeå Sweden
  2. 2.Department of Animal Ecology, Evolutionary Biology CentreUppsala UniversityUppsala Sweden

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