Postcopulatory inbreeding avoidance by female crickets only revealed by molecular markers


Leigh W. Simmons, Fax: (61) 6488 1029; E-mail:


Multiple mating is thought to provide an opportunity for females to avoid the costs of genetic incompatibility by postcopulatory selection of compatible sperm haplotypes. Few studies have tested the genetic incompatibility hypothesis directly. Here we experimentally manipulated the compatibility of females with their mates using the gryllid cricket Teleogryllus oceanicus. We recorded the hatching success of eggs laid by females mated with two nonsibling males, two siblings, or one nonsibling male and one sibling. In contrast with two previous studies on crickets that have adopted this approach, the hatching success of eggs did not differ between females mated with two full siblings and females mated with two unrelated males, indicating that embryo viability was not a cost of inbreeding in this species. We assigned paternity to offspring produced by females mated to both a sibling and a nonsibling male using microsatellite markers. As in previous studies of this species, we were unable to detect any difference in the proportion of offspring sired by the 1st and the 2nd male to mate with a female when females were unrelated to their mates. However, in our experimental matings the proportion of offspring sired by the nonsibling male depended on his sequence position. Paternity was biased toward the nonsibling male when he mated first. Our data show that molecular analyses of paternity are essential to detect subtle mechanisms of postcopulatory sexual selection.