Evol Ecol Res 9: 921-934 (2007)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

The cost of mating and the relationship between body size and fitness in males of the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis

Maxwell N. Burton-Chellew,* Edward M. Sykes, Sophie Patterson, David M. Shuker and Stuart A. West

Institute for Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: m.burton@sms.ed.ac.uk


Question: Does male size affect fitness in gregarious parasitoids?

Hypothesis: Larger males achieve higher reproductive success by obtaining more matings when in a competitive scenario and by living longer. Although mating can be costly, larger males are better able to withstand these costs.

Methods: Three experiments: two assessed the effect of size on mating success, one with and one without the presence of a competitor; the third experiment explored the relationship between male size and longevity under alternative mating regimes.

Results: Mating success did not depend on male size even in the presence of an introduced competitor. Mating reduced male longevity, but it did so independently of size.

Keywords: brood size, clutch size, local mate competition, longevity, sex allocation, sex ratio.

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