A new study has revealed a mating conundrum in the animal kingdom: Less fit male seed beetles father more offspring than their high quality competitors when they mate with the same female, says a linkurl:paper published online;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/324/5935/1705 today in Science. The findings contradict the widespread belief that females can benefit from taking multiple mates by allowing the best male to father the kids.
Female (right) and male seed
beetles in mating position

Image: Fleur Champion de Crespigny
Researchers have generally assumed that males with the best genes sire more of offspring, passing on their good genes to a female's sons and daughters, but "in this case, it was exactly the opposite," said evolutionary ecologist linkurl:Alexei Maklakov;http://www.iee.uu.se/zooekol/default.php?type=personalpage&id=87〈=en of Uppsala University in Sweden, who was not involved in the research. "This is rather puzzling," evolutionary biologist linkurl:Tom Tregenza;http://www.selfishgene.org/Tom/ of the University of Exeter in England, who was not involved in the...
The genitalia of a male seed beetle
Image: Johanna Rönn, Uppsala University
Wikimedia commons

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?