Lonely beetles make more sperm

The strategy may help males make up for being bad fighters for females

Leigh Krietsch Boerner
Apr 13, 2010
There's an interesting strategy organisms use to compensate for losing a battle over a female -- make more sperm. The finding, in male flour beetles, suggests that losing males may have a better chance of fertilizing the next female that comes along, according to a new study in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.
Image: Kensuke Okada
"These experiments show quite nicely that males can lose the first battle, but potentially still win the war," said linkurl:Sara Lewis,;http://ase.tufts.edu/faculty-guide/fac/slewis1.biology.htm a professor of evolutionary ecology at Tufts University and not associated with the study. "It really highlights the importance of post-mating processes." Like most of us, the horned flour beetle (Gnatocerus cornutus) has to compete for mating privileges, grappling with each other for access to available females. The winners get the mates of course, and often establish "harems," mating with the females multiple times. The losers, however, change their...
K. Okada, et al., "Ejaculatory strategies associated with the experience of losing," Biology Letters, published online April 14, 2010, doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.0225.



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