Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 66, Issue 8, pp 1141–1147 | Cite as

A female preference for experienced males in the almond moth, Cadra cautella

  • Kathryn B. McNamaraEmail author
  • Julia L. McKenzie
  • Mark A. Elgar
  • Therésa M. Jones
Original Paper


Male mating status can affect female reproductive output if male ejaculate investment declines over consecutive matings. Accordingly, females are predicted to mate preferentially with virgin males. In mildly polyandrous lepidopterans, female fitness is less affected by reduced male investment than in more polyandrous species, and so the predictions for female mating preferences are less clear. We examined female mating preferences in the mildly polyandrous almond moth, Cadra cautella, in which ejaculate size does not affect female reproductive output. First, we allowed females to mate with virgin or once-mated males, in which the males were presented individually or simultaneously. We recorded the latency to mating and, in the case of the simultaneously presented trials, the identity of the successful, copulating male. We found that females mated more frequently with mated males (when simultaneously presented with both males), yet females did not differ in the time taken to initiate copulation with any male. We further examined if this mated male advantage was due to differential mate detection or locomotory behaviour of the male treatments. We tested the ability of virgin and mated males to locate a receptive female within a wind tunnel using long-distance pheromone cues and recorded their activity budget. We found no difference in the ability of mated or virgin males to locate or approach a receptive female, or in their activity levels. These data suggest a female preference for mated males in this species, a preference that may minimise other potential costs of mating.


Ephestia cautella Mate choice Polyandry Monandry 



We would like to thank the Stored Grain Research Laboratory at the CSIRO for providing the moth culture. KBM was assisted by the David Hay Memorial Fund, University of Melbourne, and received funding from the Australian Research Council (grant DP110101163). TMJ received funding from the Australian Research Council (grant DP0558265) and a University of Melbourne Research Fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn B. McNamara
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Julia L. McKenzie
    • 3
  • Mark A. Elgar
    • 3
  • Therésa M. Jones
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Evolutionary Biology, School of Animal Biology (M092)University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  3. 3.Department of ZoologyUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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