Molecular evidence for variation in polyandry among praying mantids (Mantodea: Ciulfina)


  • Editor: Jean-Nicolas Volff

Kate D. L. Umbers, Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia. Tel: +61 (0)2 9850 6279; Fax: +61 (0)2 9850 8245


Estimating paternity patterns provides insights into the importance of competing evolutionary forces on mating systems. The number of sires contributing to a female's offspring is mostly influenced by her relative promiscuity. However, in a postcopulatory context, it will also be affected by sperm competition and cryptic female choice. Here, we describe the paternity patterns of two species of praying mantis from the genus Ciulfina, the agile praying mantid. This study is the first to describe patterns of paternity in the Mantodea. We found a variation in paternity in these two closely related species. Ciulfina rentzi exhibited single paternity, with a single male siring all offspring within a clutch. By contrast, Ciulfina klassi displayed multiple paternity, with the minimum number of fathers contributing to a clutch ranging from one to four. Differences in copulation duration and reproductive output between these two species may help to explain these paternity patterns.