The effect of female quality on male ejaculatory expenditure and reproductive success in a praying mantid (#68)
Strategic ejaculation is a behavioural strategy shown by many animals as a response to sperm competition and/or as a potential mechanism of cryptic male choice. Males invest more mating resources when the risk of sperm competition increases or they invest more in high quality females to maximize their reproductive output. We tested this hypothesis in the false garden mantid Pseudomantis albofimbriata, where females are capable of multiply mating and body condition is an indicator of potential reproductive fitness. We predicted male mantidswould ejaculate strategically by allocating more sperm to high quality females. To determine if and how males alter their ejaculate in response to mate quality, we manipulated female food quantity so that females were either in good condition with many eggs (i.e. high quality) or poor condition with few eggs (i.e. low quality). Half of the females from each treatment were used in mating trials in which transferred sperm was counted before fertilisation occurred and the other half of females were used in mating trials where fertilisation occurred and ootheca mass and total eggs in the ootheca were recorded. Opposed to our predictions, the total number of sperm and the proportion of viable sperm transferred did not vary significantly between female treatments. Male reproductive success was entirely dependent on female quality/fecundity, rather than on the number of sperm transferred. These results suggest that female quality is not a major factor influencing postcopulatory male mating strategies in P. albofimbriata, and that sperm number has little effect on male reproductive success in a single mating scenario.