Sperm competition generates evolution of increased paternal investment in a sex role-reversed seed beetle

I. Booksmythe, K. Fritzsche, Göran Arnqvist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


When males provide females with resources at mating, they can become the limiting sex in reproduction, in extreme cases leading to the reversal of typical courtship roles. The evolution of male provisioning is thought to be driven by male reproductive competition and selection for female fecundity enhancement. We used experimental evolution under male- or female-biased sex ratios and limited or unlimited food regimes to investigate the relative roles of these routes to male provisioning in a sex role-reversed beetle, Megabruchidius tonkineus, where males provide females with nutritious ejaculates. Males evolving under male-biased sex ratios transferred larger ejaculates than did males from female-biased populations, demonstrating a sizeable role for reproductive competition in the evolution of male provisioning. Although larger ejaculates elevated female lifetime offspring production, we found little evidence of selection for larger ejaculates via fecundity enhancement: males evolving under resource-limited and unlimited conditions did not differ in mean ejaculate size. Resource limitation did, however, affect the evolution of conditional ejaculate allocation. Our results suggest that the resource provisioning that underpins sex role reversal in this system is the result of male-male reproductive competition rather than of direct selection for males to enhance female fecundity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2841-2849
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Megabruchidius tonkineus
  • Experimental evolution
  • Fecundity enhancement
  • Paternal investment
  • Reproductive competition
  • Sex role reversal

Cite this