No cost of male mating experience on female reproductive success in the almond moth, Cadra cautella (Lepidoptera; Pyralidae)
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Male copulation experience may have a profound impact on female reproductive success if male reproductive investment declines over consecutive copulations and if females are unlikely to re-mate. Male reproductive investment is particularly interesting in lepidopterans because males produce dimorphic sperm: a fertilizing (eupyrene) and a non-fertilising (apyrene) sperm. In two experiments, we explored the lifetime reproductive investment of male almond moths, Cadra cautella (also known as Ephestia cautella) and examined its influence on female reproductive success. In the almond moth, females re-mate infrequently and males transfer sperm in a spermatophore. Attached to the spermatophore is a large chitinous process, the function of which is unknown. One group of males were permitted consecutive copulations with virgin females and the amount of sperm and size of the spermatophore transferred were compared for all females. We found that the number of both eupyrene and apyrene sperm per ejaculate decreased with his increased mating frequency, while the size of the spermatophore process decreased dramatically after the male’s first copulation. In a second experiment, we allowed males to mate with females throughout their lives and then compared female fecundity and fertilisation success. We found no obvious decrease in female fecundity and fertilisation success with increased male copulation experience, despite the likely reduction in male gametic investment. We discuss potential explanations for the development of this enlarged and elaborate first spermatophore of male almond moths given that it confers no clear fitness advantage to females.
KeywordsSpermatophore Apyrene sperm Eupyrene sperm
We would like to thank the Stored Grain Research Laboratory (CSIRO) for providing the almond moth culture. We thank the Australian Research Council for their financial assistance (Grant DP0558265).
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