Polyandry and paternity skew in natural and experimental populations of Drosophila serrata

Francesca Frentiu, Steven Chenoweth

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Many species engage in polyandry, resulting in the potential for sexual selection to continue post-copulation through sperm competition and/or cryptic female choice. The relative importance of pre- vs. post-copulatory processes remains unknown for most species despite this information being fundamental for understanding the evolutionary consequences of sexual selection. The Australian fruit fly Drosophila serrata has become a prominent model system for studying precopulatory sexual selection, such as mating preferences and their influence on the evolution of sexually selected traits. Here, we investigated polyandry and the potential for post-copulatory sexual selection in this species using indirect paternity analysis. We genotyped 21 wild-caught and 19 laboratory-reared mothers and their offspring (a total of 787 flies) at six microsatellite loci and found extensive polyandry, with all broods surveyed having at least two sires. Female remating rates were higher than in other Drosophila surveyed to date and no significant differences were found between laboratory and field populations. Additionally, we found evidence for biased sperm usage in several broods of D. serrata. Paternity skew occurred more frequently in broods from the field population than the laboratory one, suggesting differences between the two environments in the level of post-copulatory sexual selection. Our data suggest that D. serrata represents a promising system for studying the interaction between pre- and post-copulatory sexual selection in driving the evolution of sexually selected phenotypes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1589 - 1596
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Ecology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

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