Do female Nicrophorus vespilloides reduce direct costs by choosing males that mate less frequently?
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Royal Society via the DOI in this record.
Sexual conflict occurs when selection to maximize fitness in one sex does so at the expense of the other sex. In the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides, repeated mating provides assurance of paternity at a direct cost to female reproductive productivity. To reduce this cost, females could choose males with low repeated mating rates or smaller, servile males. We tested this by offering females a dichotomous choice between males from lines selected for high or low mating rate. Each female was then allocated her preferred or non-preferred male to breed. Females showed no preference for males based on whether they came from lines selected for high or low mating rates. Pairs containing males from high mating rate lines copulated more often than those with low line males but there was a negative relationship between female size and number of times she mated with a non-preferred male. When females bred with their preferred male the number of offspring reared increased with female size but there was no such increase when breeding with non-preferred males. Females thus benefited from being choosy, but this was not directly attributable to avoidance of costly male repeated mating.
Funding was provided by Natural Environment Research Council grant no. NE/I025468 to N.J.R. and A.J.M.
Vol. 12, Iss. 3
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