Covariance among premating, post-copulatory and viability fitness components in Drosophila melanogaster and their influence on paternity measurement


Elizabeth M. Droge-Young, Department of Biology, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244, USA. Tel.: +1 315 443 7248; fax: +1 315 443 2012; email:


In polyandrous mating systems, male fitness depends on success in premating, post-copulatory and offspring viability episodes of selection. We tracked male success across all of these episodes simultaneously, using transgenic Drosophila melanogaster with ubiquitously expressed green fluorescent protein (i.e. GFP) in a series of competitive and noncompetitive matings. This approach permitted us to track paternity-specific viability over all life stages and to distinguish true competitive fertilization success from differential early offspring viability. Relationships between episodes of selection were generally not present when paternity was measured in eggs; however, positive correlations between sperm competitive success and offspring viability became significant when paternity was measured in adult offspring. Additionally, we found a significant male × female interaction on hatching success and a lack of repeatability of offspring viability across a focal male’s matings, which may underlay the limited number of correlations found between episodes of selection.