Paternity success in ladybirds: function of mating interval and order
Multiple matings result in varying paternity share based on mating interval and order. Thus, assessing the effect of mating interval and order on patterns of sperm usage and paternity is crucial. We designed consecutive and delayed double-mating experiments to investigate paternity variation in ladybird, Menochilus sexmaculatus (Fabricius) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), using two distinct morphs of the species as phenotypic markers of paternity. The time to commence mating, copulation duration and reproductive output were recorded. The morphs of the offspring from the two setups were taken as a measure of paternity accumulated by the males. The time to commence mating decreased for the second mating in the consecutive mating treatment, while the reverse was observed in the delayed mating treatment. Consecutive double matings reduced the mating duration. Fecundity increased when second mating occurred after a few days, though percent egg viability remained unaffected. The second male accrued higher paternity (P2 = 0.61) than the first male (P1 = 0.39) in the consecutive mating treatment, while in the delayed mating treatment, the overall paternity share of the first 0.49 (P1) and last male was equal 0.51 (P2). Thus, our study revealed that both mating order and the time interval between successive matings regulate the male paternity share. This finding is reported for the first time in this ladybird species.
KeywordsMating order Morph Sperm displacement Sperm precedence Sperm mixing
A. D. gratefully acknowledges the DST-INSPIRE fellowship (IF120365) awarded to her and S. S. acknowledges a BSR fellowship awarded by the University Grants Commission, New Delhi, India.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Statement on the welfare of animals
All applicable international, national and institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
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