Male mating bias and its potential reproductive consequence in the butterfly Colias eurytheme

Kemp, Darrell J., and Macedonia, Joseph M. (2007) Male mating bias and its potential reproductive consequence in the butterfly Colias eurytheme. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 61 (3). pp. 415-422.

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Male mating biases may be a widespread feature of animal mating systems but the phenotypic consequences of these biases are often unclear, especially in species for which the operational sex ratio is strongly male-biased. In Colias butterflies, male choice is thought to be one of the factors responsible for maintaining a female-limited genetic color polymorphism, in which female wings appear either yellowish-orange or white (the "alba" variant). Previous studies have indicated that alba females of two montane Colias species mate fewer times during their lifetime, possibly as a partial consequence of this bias. Here we report the results of a field study of male mating behavior and female mating biology in Colias eurytheme, conducted under conditions of high (summer) and low (spring) population densities. Our data show that despite a substantial male bias in approaching alba vs yellowish-orange phenotypes [ratios of 0.08:1 (spring) and 0.28:1 (summer)], alba females did not contain, on average, fewer or smaller spermatophores. Not one of the 308 sampled females was virgin, but females of both phenotypes accumulated spermatophores with age, and tended to carry fewer, larger spermatophores in spring. These data suggest that significantly fewer (or lighter) spermatophores need not be an obligatory or simple consequence of a strong male bias in butterflies. We discuss these findings in light of the known, thermally and density-dependent complexities of alba reproductive biology and of the Colias mating system.

Item ID: 2854
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0762
Keywords: Alba polymorphism; Lepidoptera; mate choice; sexual selection; spermatophore; butterfly; evolution; resource; population
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2009 01:09
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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