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Evolution. 2005 Dec;59(12):2608-15.

Patterns of sperm precedence are not affected by female mating history in Drosophila melanogaster.

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  • 1Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106-9610, USA.


In promiscuously mating species, there is strong selection on males to maximize their share of paternity through both defensive and offensive means. This has been most extensively examined using the Drosophila melanogaster model system. In these studies, sperm competition has been examined by mating a virgin female to two consecutive males and then determining the fertilization success of both the first male (defending, P1) and the second male (offending, P2). Recent evidence suggests that male defense may be influenced by female mating history (i.e., virgin versus nonvirgin). Here, by mating females to males with three different genotypes, we show that female mating history does not affect male defensive or offensive abilities in sperm competition. We also show that, although female lifetime fecundity was not correlated with the number of times that she mated, it was reduced by increased exposure to males. These data indicate that measures of P1 and P2 previously reported in D. melanogaster may be robust to the specific mating history of the females used in these studies.

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