MATING FREQUENCY AND FECUNDITY IN INSECTS

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Summary

1. The paper summarizes the published evidence on the relation between mating frequency and fecundity in insects. There is experimental evidence of varying quality for 63 species and non-experimental evidence for about 60.

2. Repeated mating may be universally necessary for full fecundity and fertility in female insects (in species in which the females normally mate more than once).

3. The evidence is remarkably poor. We need more properly designed experiments (and not just observations of natural variation), with sufficient sample sizes and statistics, and measurements of the fecundities and fertilities of singly and multiply mated females, when the multiple matings are separated by many days or weeks. Most of the existing experiments of this sort are defective in some way.

4. In species with greater total fecundity and longevity, multiple mating may be more likely to enhance fertility than in species with small fecundity and short life span.

5. Females in naturally monandrous species do not show increased fecundity or fertility with repeated mating, whereas females of polyandrous species do.

6. There is no obvious connexion between paternal investment, in so far as we know about it, and the increase of fecundity by repeated mating.

7. There is a small tendency for females to breed more quickly and be shorter lived if they mate repeatedly.

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