Remating in Drosophila melanogaster: an examination of the trading-up and intrinsic male-quality hypotheses


Phillip G. Byrne, School of Botany and Zoology, The Australian National University, Canberra ACT, 0200 Australia.
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Female Drosophila melanogaster remate more frequently than necessary to ensure fertilization. We tested whether polyandrous females gain genetic benefits for their offspring by (1) selecting secondary sires of higher genetic-quality than original partners or (2) because post-copulatory mechanisms bias fertilizations towards genetically superior males. We screened 119 hemiclones of males for lifetime fitness then selected eight hemiclones (four of extreme high fitness and four of extreme low fitness) and mated them to virgin females. Females were then given the opportunity to remate with males of benchmark-genetic quality and their propensity to remate (fidelity) and sperm displacement scored. A female's fidelity and her level of sperm displacement varied depending on which hemiclone she mated first, but not on male-genetic quality. These findings indicate that female remating and sperm displacement are strongly influenced by male genotype, but provide no evidence that these traits contribute to adaptive female choice to obtain superior genes for offspring.