Female choice increases offspring fitness in an arctiid moth (Utetheisa ornatrix).

In Utetheisa ornatrix (Lepidoptera, Arctiidae), the female mates preferentially with larger males. Having a larger father results in the eggs being more richly endowed with defensive pyrrolizidine alkaloid (which the female receives from the male with the sperm package, in quantity proportional to the male's body mass, and passes on to the eggs); having a larger father also results in the sons and daughters themselves being larger (body mass is heritable in Utetheisa). We provide evidence herein that these consequences enhance the fitness of the offspring. Eggs sired by larger males are less vulnerable to predation (presumably because of their higher alkaloid content), whereas sons and daughters, by virtue of being larger, are, respectively, more successful in courtship and more fecund. The female Utetheisa, therefore, by being choosy, reaps both direct phenotypic and indirect genetic benefits.

Main Author: Iyengar, Vikram.
Other Authors: Elsner, Thomas.
Format: Villanova Faculty Authorship
Language: English
Published: 1999
Online Access: http://ezproxy.villanova.edu/login?url=https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:177254