The effect of male size, age, and mating behavior on sexual selection in the seed beetle callosobruchus maculatus

U. M. Savalli, C. W. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


We use laboratory mating experiments to examine the effect of male size, age, and mating behavior on fecundity selection and sexual selection in the seed beetle, Callosobruchus maculatus (Coleoptera Bruchidae), a species in which females are larger than males. Female C. maculatus gain a fitness advantage, in the form of increased lifetime fecundity, from mating with large males (which contribute larger ejaculates), but the partial correlation between male size and fecundity is weaker than the partial correlation between female size and her fecundity. Large males had a mating advantage relative to small males, both when a single male was presented to a female and when two males were present. However, this did not appear to be due to females rejecting male courtship attempts, but instead may be due to male-male competition. When females were mated to two males sequentially, neither the size of the first male nor the size of the second male influenced whether or how quickly a female remated. None of the other potential bases for sexual selection — male age, male mating experience, and male courtship persistence — appeared to influence male mating success. We discuss how patterns of sexual selection on body size and sexual size dimorphism in C. maculatus differ from patterns of sexual selection and dimorphism in another seed beetle, S. limbatus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-60
Number of pages12
JournalEthology Ecology and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded in part by a Fordham University Faculty Research Grant to C.W. Fox. Frank Messina provided the beetle populations. We thank John Wehr and Berish Rubin for providing space and support to U.M. Savalli. We are grateful to Mary Ellen Czesak for assistance and to Laura Beani, Mary Ellen Czesak, Daphne Fairbairn, Paul Spinelli and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.


  • Bruchidae
  • Fecundity selection
  • Female choice
  • Male-male competition
  • Sexual dimorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of male size, age, and mating behavior on sexual selection in the seed beetle callosobruchus maculatus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this