A1 Journal article (refereed)
Variation in male fertility in a polymorphic moth, Parasemia plantaginis (2016)

Charge, R., Wedell, N., Lindstedt, C., Hämäläinen, L., Övermark, E., & Mappes, J. (2016). Variation in male fertility in a polymorphic moth, Parasemia plantaginis. Animal Behaviour, 111, 33-40. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2015.10.014

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Charge, Rémi; Wedell, Nina; Lindstedt, Carita; Hämäläinen, Liisa; Övermark, Elsi; Mappes, Johanna

Journal or series: Animal Behaviour

ISSN: 0003-3472

eISSN: 1095-8282

Publication year: 2016

Volume: 111

Issue number: 0

Pages range: 33-40

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd; Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2015.10.014

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Additional information: Lehdellä vain volyyminumerointi.


The maintenance of multiple morphs in warning signals is enigmatic because directional selection through predator avoidance should lead to the rapid loss of such variation. Opposing natural and sexual selection is a good candidate driving the maintenance of multiple male morphs but it also includes another enigma: when warning signal efficiency differs between male morphs, why would females choose a phenotype with lower survival? We tested the hypothesis that indirect responses to selection on correlated characters through sexual selection may substantially shape the evolution of male coloration. If male phenotypes differ in their fertilization ability, female choice against the best surviving phenotype can evolve. The wood tiger moth, Parasemia plantaginis, has two coexisting male morphs in Europe. Previous studies have shown that yellow males are better defended against predators, but that white males have a higher mating success. We examined differences in fertility between white and yellow males in terms of sperm production, number of sperm transferred and rate of sperm replenishment, and association between these fertility traits, female mate choice and reproductive output. If white morphs have greater fertility than yellow males, then this could explain why females prefer to mate with white males. However, we did not find any difference between male colour morphs either in mating probability, fertility (i.e. sperm availability and sperm transferred) or reproductive success (i.e. number of eggs laid and hatching success). We discuss our results in relation to context-dependent mating success and maintenance of colour polymorphism within populations.

Keywords: wood tiger; sexual selection; fertility; colours; genetic polymorphism

Free keywords: aposematism; erebid moths; mating success; polymorphism; spermatophore

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2016

JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2021-09-06 at 11:08