Can females manipulate post-copulatory egg production in the red flour beetles?

Cristha Marie Edwards


The red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum is a pest species that is found primarily in food grains. Sexual selection, both male-male competition and female choice, are a strong evolutionary force in this species and affect the morphology and diversity of the beetle populations based on its environment. Previous work shows that female perception of male quality indicated by a male’s copulatory courtship and not the male quality itself affects male fertilization success, thereby signaling the importance of post-copulatory female choice. However, it is not clear if females can manipulate paternity based on other male cues that are used for pre-copulatory mate choice. Here we tested if females can manipulate paternity based on a pheromone cue by artificially altering male pheromone cue but not male quality itself. We predicted that male beetles that are determined to be attractive based on the enhanced pheromone cue will have a higher fertilization success. Our results supported this prediction. Thus our data adds to the evidence for female ability to control post-copulatory processes in this species.


Sexual Selection; Fertilization Success; Post-Copulation Mechanisms

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