Dynamics of Multiple Matings in Monarch Butterflies Open Access

Mongue, Andrew (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/sb3978945?locale=en


While competition for sexual partners is often imagined in terms of dramatic visual displays and physical combat, there are just as many invisible forces driving the struggle for reproduction. Even when the process at play cannot be seen, the economics of benefits and costs to each party control the system. Insects make the perfect study organisms for such dynamics due to their short generation time and large offspring number. Danaus plexippus, the monarch butterfly, makes an intriguing study insect because of its apparent departure from butterfly mating norms. With that in mind, I compared the number and paternity of offspring of female monarch butterflies that mated with either one or two males to investigate benefits to both sexes. Females that remated lived longer and laid more eggs total compared to their singly mated counterparts. On the male side, there was a trend for last male sperm precedence, as detected with microsatellite paternity analysis, though significance was not achieved with the study sample size. With these results both sexes could potentially benefit from remating, but confounds in the mating design introduce uncertainty to these benefits. More concretely, this experiment demonstrates the usefulness of genetic markers developed for population differentiation studies on the pedigree scale.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction pg. 1

Materials and Methods pg. 2

Results pg.5

Figure 1 pg.6

Figure 2 pg. 7

Figure 3 pg. 8

Figure 4 pg. 9

Figure 5 pg. 10

Figure 6 pg. 10

Figure 7 pg. 11

Table 1 pg. 6

Supplementary Table 1 pg. 19

Discussion pg. 12

References pg. 16

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