Male butterflies use an anti-aphrodisiac pheromone to tailor ejaculates
2016 (English)In: Functional Ecology, ISSN 0269-8463, E-ISSN 1365-2435, Vol. 30, no 2, 255-261 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
When females mate with multiple partners, the risk of sperm competition depends on female mating history. To maximize fitness, males should adjust their mating investment according to this risk. In polyandrous butterflies, males transfer a large, nutritious ejaculate at mating. Larger ejaculates delay female remating and confer an advantage in sperm competition. We test whether male ejaculate size in the butterfly Pieris napi (Lepidoptera) varies with female mating history and thus sperm competition, and whether males assess sperm competition using the male-transferred anti-aphrodisiac methyl salicylate (MeS) as a cue. Both sexes responded physiologically to MeS in a dose-dependent manner. Males, however, were more sensitive to MeS than females. Ejaculates transferred by males mating with previously mated females were on average 26% larger than ejaculates transferred by males mating with virgin females, which conforms to sperm competition theory and indicates that males tailored their reproductive investment in response to sperm competition. Furthermore, ejaculates transferred by males mating with virgin females with artificially added MeS were also 26% larger than ejaculates transferred to control virgin females. Male-transferred anti-aphrodisiac pheromone not only functions as a male deterrent, but also carries information on female mating history and thus allows males to assess sperm competition.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 30, no 2, 255-261 p.
anti-aphrodisiac, mating investment, nuptial gift, olfaction, pheromone, Pieris napi, sexual conﬂict, spermatophore size
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119420DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12521ISI: 000370953700011OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-119420DiVA: diva2:845609