Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 687–702 | Cite as

Variation in polyandry and its fitness consequences among populations of the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum

  • Aditi Pai
  • Stacy Feil
  • Guiyun Yan
Original Paper


Female mating with multiple males in a single reproductive period, or polyandry, is a common phenomenon in animals. In this study we investigated variation in female mating behavior and its fitness consequences among three genetic strains of the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. We found that the extent of polyandry and its fitness consequences varied significantly among the strains. In the first strain PRUZ, females mated multiply but incurred costs of polyandry in the form of reduced offspring production. Females of the second strain, NDG11, mated readily with multiple partners and benefited because polyandry led to higher offspring quality. Finally, TIW1 females were resistant to multiple mating and polyandry resulted in lower offspring production but improved offspring quality. Thus, in the first population we observed only costs of polyandry, in the second strain only benefits of polyandry whereas in the third we detected both costs and benefits of polyandry. Possible explanations for such a pattern are discussed.


Tribolium castaneum Fitness Polyandry Male–female co-evolution 



We thank C. Kane, T. Cottom, G. Bajwa, M. Park, and K. Tran for technical assistance. A. Monteiro and anonymous reviewers provided useful suggestions on improving the manuscript. The research is supported by National Science Foundation grant IBN 1030165. These experiments comply with the current laws of the country they were conducted in.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biology DepartmentSpelman CollegeAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesState University of New York at BuffaloBuffaloUSA
  3. 3.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of California IrvineIrvineUSA

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