In many insect species, females can mate more than once and store sperm from more than one male. An assessment and understanding of polyandry in the field can be important for pest species with a high colonization potential, such as the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), which is also highly polyphagous and among the most destructive agricultural insects. The use of polymorphic microsatellite markers, combined with different statistical approaches, provides evidence that polyandry occurs in two C. capitata natural populations, one population from the Greek island of Chios and one population from Rehovot, in Israel. The observed different level of polyandry is discussed in relation to the genetic diversity, seasonality, and demography of the two populations. When polyandry is present, paternity analysis also indicates that one male, presumably the last, tends to sire most of the progeny. Polyandry and paternity skew may have important implications for the evolution of the species, in terms of maintenance of the genetic variability. Moreover, these aspects of the mating behavior, i.e., remating frequency and paternity skew, may locally affect the sterile insect technique, the most commonly applied control strategy against C. capitata.
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Vol. 99 • No. 4