Mate choice opportunity leads to shorter offspring development time in a desert insect



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Erratum Volume 24, Issue 9, 2072, Article first published online: 27 June 2011

Julie A. Havens, Program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Department of Biological Sciences, 1 University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA.
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We describe indirect genetic benefits of mate choice in two allopatric populations of cactophilic Drosophila mojavensis. By manipulating mate choice opportunity, we show that greater mate choice among sexually mature adults leads to shorter offspring egg-to-adult development times; the extent of this reduction was influenced by population origin and by host plant environment. We performed multiple-choice mating trials with individually marked flies to investigate whether differential male mating success was a consequence of female choice, male interaction, or both. We demonstrate that male copulation frequency was not random and instead, was determined by female choice. Virgin females in these trials were no less discriminating than females that had been previously exposed to males. These results suggest that there are indirect benefits of female mate choice that are population and environment specific, consistent with the hypothesis of ecologically influenced ‘good genes’ sexual selection.