Mating failure shapes the patterns of sperm precedence in an insect
MetadataShow full item record
Estimates of last male sperm precedence (P2) are often used to infer mechanisms of sperm competition, a form of post-copulatory sexual selection. However, high levels of mating failure (i.e. copulations resulting in no offspring) in a population can lead to misinterpretations of sperm competition mechanisms. Through simulations, García-González (2004) illustrated how mating failure could cause bimodal distributions of paternity with peaks at P2 = 0 and 1, under a random sperm mixing mechanism. Here, we demonstrate this effect empirically with the seed bug Lygaeus simulans, a species known to exhibit high levels of mating failure (40–60%), using a morphological marker to estimate paternity. Contrary to previous findings in a sister species, we did not find strong evidence for last male sperm precedence. There was a tendency towards last male precedence (P2 = 0.58) but within the expected range for random sperm mixing. Instead, P2 was highly variable, with a bimodal distribution, as predicted by García-González (2004). After taking mating failure into account, the strongest driver of paternity outcome was copulation duration. Furthermore, we found evidence that mating failure could partly be a female-associated trait. Some doubly-mated females were more likely to produce no offspring or produce offspring from two different sires than expected by chance. Therefore, some females are more prone to experience mating failure than others, a result that mirrors an earlier result in male L. simulans. Our results confirm that mating failure needs to be considered when interrogating mechanisms of post-copulatory sexual selection.
Balfour , V L , Black , D & Shuker , D M 2020 , ' Mating failure shapes the patterns of sperm precedence in an insect ' , Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology , vol. 74 , 25 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-020-2801-x
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Copyright © The Author(s) 2020. Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
DescriptionFunding: University of St Andrews PhD Apprenticeship (VLB); Laidlaw Scholarship Programme (DB).
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.