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Abstract

Benefits of multiple mating to females may come from the acquisition of water in male ejaculates. This hypothesis seems plausible in species in which males provide females with large ejaculates and has been tested with the prediction that females mate more frequently when an external source of water is unavailable. My study observed that females deprived of water were more likely to remate than females given water in the adzuki bean beetle, Callosobruchus chinensis. This result suggests that females may absorb the water in male ejaculates and thus change their remating receptivity according to the need for additional water. However, compared with related species, the ejaculate size is smaller, so ejaculatory hydration benefits are expected to be small in this species. There were no significant differences in lifetime fecundity and longevity between females that were allowed to receive one ejaculate from remating and females that were not allowed to do so when water was unavailable. This provides no evidence that receiving an additional ejaculate enhances female fitness. Thus, obtaining water from male ejaculates may partly compensate the costs of remating to females, although it alone would be insufficient to explain polyandry in C. chinensis. Increased mating frequency in water-deprived females would not necessarily support the hypothesis that females remate for ejaculatory hydration benefits.