Influence of male mating history on female reproductive success among monandrous Naryciinae (Lepidoptera: Psychidae)


Jelmer Elzinga, Department of Biological and Environmental Science, Centre of Excellence in Evolutionary Research, University of Jyväskylä, PO Box 35, 40014, Finland. E-mail:


1. Multiple male copulations can have detrimental effects on female fitness due to sperm limitation.

2. Monandrous Naryciinae females are immobile while the males are short-lived and do not feed. Multiple male mating is therefore expected to lead to sperm limitation in females. Sperm limitation and male limitation are hypothesised as causes of the repeated evolution of parthenogenetic reproduction in the Psychidae.

3. In this study, the effects of multiple male mating on female reproduction are investigated in several species of Naryciinae by allowing males multiple copulations. The results for two species, Siederia listerella and Dahlica lichenella, are compared. The sex ratios of 53 natural populations are examined for indications of male limitation.

4. Previous copulations by the male increased the female's risk of remaining unfertilised. However, contrary to expectations, those unfertilised females were capable of successful re-mating.

5. In S. listerella, the number of previous copulations of males negatively influenced female fitness. Females produced 30% fewer offspring if they mated with a previously mated male. In D. lichenella, the older the male and the lower its number of total lifetime copulations, the higher the female's reproductive success.

6. Only a fraction of the investigated populations had a female-skewed sex ratio, but differences in development time between males and females could lead to reproductive asynchrony.

7. In conclusion, male mating history did not lead to strong sperm limitation in Naryciinae as had been suggested by their life history.