Female teneral mating in a monandrous species

Authors

  • Karine Monceau,

    1. INRA, UMR 1065 Santé et Agroécologie du Vignoble, ISVV, F-33883 Villenave d’Ornon, France
    2. Université de Bordeaux, UMR 1065 Santé et Agroécologie du Vignoble, Bordeaux Sciences Agro, F-33883 Villenave d’Ornon, France
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    • All authors contributed equally to the paper.

  • Joan van Baaren

    1. UMR CNRS 6553 ECOBIO, Equipe PaysaClim, Université Rennes 1, Rennes, France
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    • All authors contributed equally to the paper.


Karine Monceau, INRA, UMR 1065 Santé et Agroécologie du Vignoble, 71, Avenue Edouard Bourlaux, 33883 Villenave d’Ornon, France. Tel: +33.5.57.12.26.39; Fax: +33.6.62.30.26.21; E-mail: karine.monceau@bordeaux.inra.fr

Abstract

Schultesia nitor is a gregarious species living in Cacicus and Psarocolius ssp. pouch-like nests. Due to gregariousness, opportunities for multiple copulations in both sexes are not supposed to be restricted. Females produce only one brood during their life and die within a few days following the birth of their nymphs, but this unique brood could be the result of either single or multiple mating events (i.e., monandry vs. polyandry). In this study, we first determined the age of sexual receptivity of both males and females. Larval development in this species is shorter in males than in females and thus, this species is protandric. Males were not able to copulate the day after emergence. Contrary to males, teneral females (i.e., females achieving their imaginal molt but not yet fully sclerotised and colored) were attractive and were able to mate with males. In the second experiment, we tested the existence of multiple matings in both sexes. Our results showed that females were monandrous whereas males were polygynous. Since we had observed that females were monoandrous, we expected them to be choosy and we determined their ability to discriminate between virgin and nonvirgin males. When given the choice, females preferred virgin males and overall, they were more successful at mating than experienced ones. Our results suggest that monandry may be primarily driven by the female’s short life-span fecundity. The occurrence of teneral mating in this species calls into question the existence of a male strategy for monopolizing females, and as well as the implication of female choice. Although further work is required, this species provides an interesting model for understanding sexual conflicts.

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