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Keywords:

  • Drosophila melanogaster;
  • fecundity;
  • female fitness;
  • polyandry;
  • remating;
  • sexual conflict;
  • temporal variation

Abstract

Despite its potential importance, the role of the timing of mating(s) as a source of variation in female lifetime reproductive success has been largely overlooked. Here, using a laboratory-adapted population of the model species Drosophila melanogaster, we explore how temporal variation in the patterns of single and multiple matings influences female fecundity. We find that the boost to fecundity known to occur after a virgin female’s initial mating also extends to subsequent matings as nonvirgins, but only for a short duration. This fecundity boost at least partially offsets the direct costs of multiple matings to females in this population of D. melanogaster. The implications of these results for our understanding of the evolution and maintenance of polyandry in this species are discussed in the context of sexual conflict.