Mating frequency and inclusive fitness in Drosophila melanogaster

Nicholas K Priest, L F Galloway, D A Roach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (SciVal)
181 Downloads (Pure)


In many species, increased mating frequency reduces maternal survival and reproduction. In order to understand the evolution of mating frequency, we need to determine the consequences of increased mating frequency for offspring. We conducted an experiment in Drosophila melanogaster in which we manipulated the mating frequency of mothers and examined the survival and fecundity of the mothers and their daughters. We found that mothers with the highest mating frequency had accelerated mortality and more rapid reproductive senescence. On average, they had 50% shorter lives and 30% lower lifetime reproductive success (LRS) than did mothers with the lowest mating frequency. However, mothers with the highest mating frequency produced daughters with 28% greater LRS. This finding implies that frequent mating stimulates crossgenerational fitness trade-offs such that maternal fitness is reduced while offspring fitness is enhanced. We evaluate these results using a demographic metric of inclusive fitness. We show that the costs and benefits of mating frequency depend on the growth rate of the population. In an inclusive fitness context, there was no evidence that increased mating frequency results in fitness costs for mothers. These results indicate that cross-generational fitness trade-offs have an important role in sexual selection and life-history evolution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-21
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Issue number1
Early online date15 Nov 2007
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008


Dive into the research topics of 'Mating frequency and inclusive fitness in Drosophila melanogaster'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this