Eur. J. Entomol. 111 (4): 513-520, 2014 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2014.067

Female fertility in Hippodamia convergens (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) is maximized by polyandry, but reduced by continued male presence

Mohamed H. BAYOUMY1,2, J.P. MICHAUD2,*
1 Mansoura University, Faculty of Agriculture, Economic Entomology Department, Mansoura 35516, Egypt; e-mail: mhmohamed@mans.edu.eg
2 Agricultural Research Center-Hays, Department of Entomology, Kansas State University, 1232 240th Ave, Hays, KS 67601, USA; e-mail: jpmi@ksu.edu

Many species of lady beetles are highly promiscuous and females mate repeatedly even when not sperm-limited. We quantified female reproductive success and progeny development in Hippodamia convergens using a laboratory experiment designed to test whether (1) male novelty (different males), (2) male mating status (virgin, non-virgin) or (3) opportunities for female mate choice, would increase female fitness compared to a similar number of matings with the same male. Daily access to novel males, regardless of their mating status, increased the egg fertility of females, but not their fecundity. Opportunities for mate choice did not improve any measure of female reproductive success compared to arbitrary assignment of males, but slightly increased reproductive rate, as measured by the number of days to produce 15 clutches. The eggs of monogamous females had the fastest eclosion times, but larval development was fastest for progeny of females polyandrous with non-virgin males, and total developmental time did not differ among treatments. In a second experiment, confinement with two males during oviposition disrupted egg clustering and reduced egg fertility, but not female fecundity, relative to confinement with one male or oviposition in solitude, suggesting a negative impact of male harassment on female fitness in the presence of multiple males. However, the continued presence of two males also improved progeny survival and reduced progeny development time relative to female confinement with one, likely due to summation of paternal effects when females were allowed unlimited matings with both males. These results do not rule out genetic benefits of polyandry, but support the view that enhanced egg fertility is a primary benefit, and suggest more subtle benefits may be obtained in the form of additive paternal effects. The average number of female matings in nature may even exceed that required to obtain such benefits if females use "convenience polyandry" to diminish male harassment.

Keywords: Coleoptera, Coccinellidae, Hippodamia convergens, fecundity, fertility, female choice, polyandry, monogamy, paternal effects, reproductive success

Received: May 29, 2014; Accepted: July 3, 2014; Prepublished online: August 19, 2014; Published: October 1, 2014

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