Although female multiple mating is ubiquitous in insects, its adaptive significance remains poorly understood. Benefits to multiple mating can accrue via direct material benefits, indirect genetic benefits, or both. We investigated the effects of multiple mating in the decorated cricket, Gryllodes sigillatus, by simultaneously varying the number of times that females mated and the number of different males with which they mated, measuring aspects of female fecundity and elements of offspring performance and viability. Multiple matings resulted in enhanced female fitness relative to single matings when females mated with different partners, but not when females mated repeatedly with the same male. Specifically, polyandrous females produced significantly more offspring surviving to reproductive maturity than did monogamous females mating once or mating repeatedly with the same male. These results suggest that the benefit females gain from multiple mating is influenced primarily by genetic and not material benefits.
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Vol. 59 • No. 1