ABS 2022
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No evidence for fitness benefits of mate preferences in female lesser waxmoths
Dariana Gomez, Flavia Barbosa. Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, IL, United States

Even though female mate choice is widespread among animals, we still lack a full understanding of the fitness value of female mating preferences in species where females do not gain direct benefits from mates. Males of the lesser waxmoth Achroia grisella produce ultrasonic signals to attract females, and females prefer signals with faster pulse rates. However, it is not known whether females benefit from mating with more attractive males. We hypothesize that females may benefit by a number of non-mutually-exclusive mechanisms: (1) producing more offspring, (2) producing more attractive male offspring, (3) producing more fecund female offspring, and (4) producing offspring with a male-biased sex ratio. We tested this by mating females with males varying in attractiveness and allowing them to oviposit and the offspring to develop to adults. We then looked at the relationship between the father’s attractiveness and the number, mass, and sex ratio of his offspring. Overall, we found no evidence that females benefit from mating with more attractive males in lesser waxmoths, and we suggest the sensory bias hypothesis as a potential explanation for our results.