Submitted to: Journal of Animal Behavior
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/4/2008
Publication Date: 11/1/2008
Citation: Aluja, M., Perez-Staples, D., Sivinski, J.M., Sanchez, A., Pinero, J. 2008. Effects of male condition on fitness in two tropical tephritid flies with contrasting life histories. Journal of Animal Behavior. 76(6):1997-2009. Interpretive Summary: Pest fruit flies are often controlled through Sterile Male Releases (SIT) which requires that the most sexually attractive and competitive males be reared and released. Scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology (Gainesville, Florida) in collaboration with colleagues from the Instituto de Ecologia (Xalapa, Vercruz, Mexico) examined the role of male size and diet on their reproductive performance. It was found that diet was more important than size and this information will be incorporated into rearing protocols here and abroad.
Technical Abstract: Size and nutritional status, two factors that can determine male mating competitiveness, are usually studied independently. Here we investigated the interactions between size and adult diet on the sexual competitiveness and female fitness of two tephritid flies with contrasting natural histories, the Mexican fruit fly, Anastrepha ludens and the guava fruit fly, A. striata. Small, medium and large males were provided with either a low quality (sucrose offered every third day) or high quality diet (sucrose and protein offered ad libitum). Males of both species fed on a high quality diet copulated significantly more often than males fed on a low quality diet. For A. ludens, large size and high quality diet were important in territory defence by resident males, however, only size affected the likelihood of success by invading males. In contrast, for A. striata, diet was only important in territory defence by invading males. For A. ludens females, fertility was affected by male size, while maximum longevity was significantly shorter when females copulated with a low quality fed male regardless of size. In A. striata, females discriminated strongly against low quality diet fed males but not against smaller males. However, females that copulated with medium and small males exhibited lower fecundities than those copulating with large males. Females may be manipulated into copulating with smaller males if there is sexual conflict over mating decisions. We discuss these results in view of the costs for females of mating with smaller males and their inability to distinguish between males of different conditions, as well as interspecific differences in mate choice and postcopulatory consequences for females.