Females often mate more than is necessary to ensure reproductive success even when they incur significant costs from doing so. Direct benefits are hypothesized to be the driving force of high female mating rates, yet species in which females only receive an ejaculate from their mate still realize increased fitness from multiple mating. Using the Texas field cricket, Gryllus texensis, we experimentally test the hypothesis that multiple mating via monandry or polyandry increases female fitness by replenishing ejaculates, thereby allowing females to produce more offspring for a longer period of time. We found that higher rates of female mating significantly increased lifetime fecundity and oviposition independent of whether females mated with one or two males. Further, although interactions with males significantly increased rates of injury or death, females that replenished ejaculates experienced an increased rate and duration of oviposition, demonstrating that the immediate benefits of multiple mating may greatly outweigh the long-term costs that mating poses to female condition and survival. We suggest that ejaculate replenishment is a driving factor of high mating rates in females that do not receive external direct benefits from mating and that a comparative study across taxa will provide additional insight into the role that ejaculate size plays in the evolution of female mating rates.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Behavioral Neuroscience