Abstracts (first author)
Condition and molecular mating strategies in Drosophila melanogaster: large females get more, small males try harder
Theory predicts that males in good condition should produce larger sexually selected traits, such as ejaculates, but the allocation of ejaculates should also vary with the number of mating opportunities available to males. Fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster, who develop under crowded larval conditions have reduced body size, and these small males posses fewer ejaculate resources. We show, however, that these small males transfer relatively higher proportion of their reserves of a key seminal protein, sex peptide, at mating, and manage to match large males in the quantity they transfer to females. Small males could potentially benefit form this strategy because they have fewer mating opportunities: thus they are predicted to invest relatively more in each mating opportunity they get. Large females receive larger quantities of the receptivity-inhibiting sex peptide from males of all sizes, but unexpectedly these large females remate sooner than small females. Thus, female mating frequency is strongly dependent on the female developmental environment. Future work should aim to uncover to what extent female condition and male influences interact to regulate female remating rate.