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Female Remating Behavior in a Lekking Moth



In polyandrous species, male reproductive success will at least partly be determined by males' success in sperm competition. To understand the potential for post-mating sexual selection, it is therefore important to assess the extent of female remating. In the lekking moth Achroia grisella, male mating success is strongly determined by female choice based on the attractiveness of male ultrasonic songs. Although observations have indicated that some females will remate, only little is known about the level of sperm competition. In many species, females are more likely to remate if their first mating involved an already mated male than if the first male was virgin. Potentially, this is because mated males are less well able to provide an adequate sperm supply, nutrients, or substances inhibiting female remating. This phenomenon will effectively reduce the strength of pre-copulatory sexual selection because attractive males with high mating success will be more susceptible to sperm competition. We therefore performed an experiment designed both to provide a more precise estimate of female remating probability and simultaneously to test the hypothesis that female remating is influenced by male mating history. Overall, approximately one of five females remated with a second male. Yet, although females mated to non-virgin males were somewhat more prone to remate, the effect of male mating history was not significant. The results revealed, however, that heavier females were more likely to remate. Furthermore, we found that females' second copulations were longer, suggesting that, in accordance with theory, males may invest more sperm in situations with an elevated risk of sperm competition.

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