Ejaculate size, second male size, and moderate polyandry increase female fecundity in a seed beetle

Jordi Moya-Laraño, Charles W. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the evolution of polyandry in species that provide nuptial gifts. When nuptial gifts are in the form of nutritional elements in the ejaculate and ejaculate size is correlated with male body size, females can accrue both direct (nutritional) and indirect (genetic) benefits from multiple mating. We examined remating decisions in females of the seed beetle Stator limbatus and, using path analysis, examined the effects of male body size on the size of his ejaculate, the amount of ejaculate that was successfully transferred to females, and the overall effect of these variables on female fecundity. Larger males produced larger ejaculates and consequently transferred a larger ejaculate to females, but the effects on female fecundity differed between the females' first and second mates. Both larger first and second males were able to transfer more of their ejaculate to females than were smaller males. Both the total amount of ejaculate transferred by these males and polyandry (number of matings) were positively correlated to female fecundity independently of each other. However, larger second males were more successful at stimulating female fecundity independently of how much ejaculate they transferred. We also provide evidence that females are choosy during their second mating opportunity. Both female choosiness and higher female investment after mating with larger second males suggest that females may benefit from both direct and indirect effects from multiple mating. We also conclude that male body size is under both directional fecundity selection and directional sexual selection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)940-946
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioral Ecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank William Wallin, Laura Hettinger, Oriaku Njoku, Lisa Hitchcok, Ana Lucia DeSouza, Denise Johnson, Kim Carico, and Courtney Elkins for help with the laboratory experiments and thank Angela Amarillo and Craig Stillwell for thoughtful discussions. Deseada Parejo showed us the SAS details for GLMMs. This work was funded in part by National Science Foundation DEB-02-71929 (C.W.F.) and a ‘‘Ramón y Cajal’’ research position and grant CGL2004-03153 of the Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture (J.M.L.). This is publication number 06-08-076 of the Kentucky Experimental Station.


  • Body size
  • Directional selection
  • Ejaculate nutritial benefits
  • Nuptial gifts
  • Polyandry
  • Sexual size dimorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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