Male and female condition influence mating performance and sexual receptivity in two tropical fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) with contrasting life histories

M. Aluja*, J. Rull, J. Sivinski, G. Trujillo, D. Pérez-Staples

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Recent recognition of widespread polyandry in insects has generated considerable interest in understanding why females mate multiple times and in identifying factors that affect mating rate and inhibit female remating. However, little attention has been paid to understanding the question from both a female and male perspective, particularly with respect to factors that may simultaneously influence female remating rates. Here, we report on a study aimed at ascertaining the possible interactive effects that male and female size and diet, and female access to a host could have on mating latency, probability, and duration and female refractory period using two tropical fruit fly species with contrasting life histories. Of all factors tested, adult diet played the most significant role. Both Anastrepha ludens and Anastrepha obliqua males which had constant access to protein and sucrose mated more often, had shorter copulations and induced longer refractory periods in females than males fed a low quality diet (sucrose offered every third day). Female size and the interaction with male diet determined how quickly female A. ludens mated for the first time. Smaller females mated sooner with low quality fed males than with high quality fed males while there was no difference for large females, suggesting that male choice may be at play if high quality fed males discriminate against smaller females. Copulation duration also depended on both male and female nutritional condition, and the interaction between male diet and female size and diet. Large and high quality fed females had shorter copulations regardless of male condition. Importantly, for A. ludens, female refractory period depended on male size and the nutritional condition of both males and females, which could indicate that for this species, female receptivity does not depend only on the condition of the male ejaculate. For A. obliqua refractory period was associated with the interaction between male size and diet and male diet and host presence. We discuss our results in terms of male ability to inhibit female remating and the relative contribution of female condition to this behavior. We also address the importance of studying effects simultaneously on species with contrasting life histories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1091-1098
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • Anastrepha
  • Female remating inhibition
  • Mating behavior
  • Receptivity
  • Refractory period
  • Sexual behavior
  • Tephritidae


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