Females Remate for Sperm Replenishment in a Seed Bug: Evidence from Offspring Viability

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Abstract

Females of many insects mate multiply but why they do so remains controversial. Here we investigated the effects of multiple matings on female reproductive success of a New Zealand seed bug, Nysius huttoni. We found little evidence for females to gain material (nutritional) benefits through multiple matings because the number of matings did not have significant effect on female fecundity. Females remated to the same males or different males produced similar number of viable offspring, suggesting that females do not obtain genetic benefit from remating in terms of offspring viability. With the increase of the number of matings, however, overall fertility rate significantly increased and daily fertility rate declined significantly slower over time. These results suggest that females remate for the replenishment of sperm. Five matings are sufficient for females to maximize their reproductive success, and additional matings appear to be superfluous. However, the females of this bug mate as many as 68 times if males and females are paired for lifetime. This can be explained by the convenience hypothesis, i.e., females remate superfluously to minimize the costs of harassment by promiscuous males.

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