Eur. J. Entomol. 105 (2): 219-226, 2008 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2008.031

Differences in mating strategies in two closely related small ermine moth species (Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae)

Aletta C. BAKKER*, Wil E. VAN GINKEL, Peter ROESSINGH**, Steph B.J. MENKEN
University of Amsterdam, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, P.O. Box 94062, 1090 GB Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The degree of polyandry in a species is linked to other life history traits such as egg maturation, life span, and male ejaculate size and quality. The study of differences in mating strategies between closely related species can provide a better understanding of the evolution of these strategies and of sperm competition. Mating patterns of two closely related species of small ermine moths (Yponomeuta) were investigated in the laboratory. The average female age at first mating was higher in Y. cagnagellus than in Y. padellus. Both species mated more than once; however, Y. cagnagellus females were more likely to remate in a short time frame. Moreover, Y. cagnagellus had higher life time female mating frequencies than Y. padellus (viz., 3.0 versus 2.0). These differences in mating frequency were confirmed in the field by examining the presence of spermatophores (or their remains) in the bursa as well as sperm in the spermatheca of field-caught females.

Keywords: Lepidoptera, mating frequencies, Yponomeuta padellus, Y. cagnagellus, polyandry

Received: December 22, 2007; Accepted: March 5, 2008; Published: May 15, 2008

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