Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 61, Issue 1, pp 31–38 | Cite as

Indirect genetic benefits of polyandry in a spider with direct costs of mating

  • Alexei A. Maklakov
  • Yael Lubin
Original Article


The search for the evolutionary explanation of polyandry is increasingly focused on direct and indirect selection on female resistance. In a polyandrous spider Stegodyphus lineatus, males do not provide material benefits and females are resistant to remating. Nevertheless, polyandrous females may obtain indirect genetic benefits that offset the costs associated with multiple mating. We manipulated the opportunity for females to select between different partners and examined the effect of female mating history (mated once, mated twice, or rejected the second male) on offspring body mass, size, condition, and survival under high- and low-food rearing regimens. We found that multiple mating, not female choice, results in increased female offspring body mass and condition. However, these effects were present only in low-food regimen. We did not find any effects of female mating history on male offspring variables. Thus, the benefits of polyandry depend not only on sex, but also on offspring environment. Furthermore, the observed patterns suggest that indirect genetic benefits cannot explain the evolution of female resistance in this system.


Indirect selection Female resistance Mate choice Sexual selection Sexual conflict Stegodyphus lineatus 



We thank David Saltz, Trine Bilde, Jutta Schneider, Ofer Eitan, and all members of the Spider Lab in Sede Boqer campus for fruitful discussions of the experiments and the data; David Saltz for statistical advice; and Ofer Eitan for outstanding laboratory assistance. Trine Bilde, Urban Friberg, and Jutta Schneider commented on the manuscript. A. A. M. was supported by the Krupp Fund (Blaustein Centre for Scientific Cooperation), American Arachnological Fund research grant, and Marie Curie (MEIF-CT-2003-50589) fellowship. Y. L. was supported by grant 2000259 from the US–Israel Bi-National Science Foundation. The experiments comply with the current laws of Israel. This is publication 528 for Mitrani Dept. of Desert Ecology.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Life SciencesBen Gurion UniversityBeer-ShevaIsrael
  2. 2.Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology, Blaustein Institute for Desert ResearchBen Gurion UniversitySede BoqerIsrael
  3. 3.Animal Ecology/Department of Ecology and Evolution, Evolutionary Biology CentreUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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