Paternity analyses in wild-caught and laboratory-reared Caribbean cricket females reveal the influence of mating environment on post-copulatory sexual selection

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Polyandry is ubiquitous in insects and provides the conditions necessary for male- and female-driven forms of post-copulatory sexual selection to arise. Populations of Amphiacusta sanctaecrucis exhibit significant divergence in portions of the male genitalia that are inserted directly into the female reproductive tract, suggesting that males may exercise some post-copulatory control over fertilization success. We examine the potential for male–male and male–female post-copulatory interactions to influence paternity in wild-caught females of A. sanctaecrucis and contrast our findings with those obtained from females reared in a high-density laboratory environment. We find that female A. sanctaecrucis exercise control by mating multiple times (females mount males), but that male–male post-copulatory interactions may influence paternity success. Moreover, post-copulatory interactions that affect reproductive success of males are not independent of mating environment: clutches of wild-caught females exhibit higher sire diversity and lower paternity skew than clutches of laboratory-reared females. There was no strong evidence for last male precedence in either case. Most attempts at disentangling the contributions of male–male and male–female interactions towards post-copulatory sexual selection have been undertaken in a laboratory setting and may not capture the full context in which they take place – such as the relationship between premating and post-mating interactions. Our results reinforce the importance of designing studies that can capture the multifaceted nature of sexual selection for elucidating the role of post-copulatory sexual selection in driving the evolution of male and female reproductive traits, especially when different components (e.g. precopulatory and post-copulatory interactions) do not exert independent effects on reproductive outcomes.

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