Mating Compatibility Between Geographic Populations of the Seed Beetle Callosobruchus maculatus

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Journal of Insect Behavior



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Allopatric populations sometimes display reproductive barriers in incipient form, and may thus reveal potential mechanisms of speciation. We conducted mating trials to estimate the degree of precopulatory (behavioral) and postcopulatory (gametic) prezygotic isolation between African and Asian populations of the seed beetle Callosobruchus maculatus. The populations differ in several fitness-related traits, and have been associated with different legume hosts. In single-pair trials, the probability of copulation within 10 min was lower when Asian females were paired with African males than it was in the other three pairing combinations. This pairing also provided evidence for gametic isolation, as Asian females mated once to African males laid fewer eggs than did females in the other treatments. Variation in fecundity could not be explained by the duration of copulation, which did not differ among pairing combinations. There was also no effect of pairing combination on the number of copulation attempts, latency to copulation, or rate of egg hatch. When females were simultaneously presented a male from each population, Asian males obtained a disproportionate share of the matings, and were more likely to disturb a pair already in copulo. Surprisingly, male size did not influence the probability of copulation in the single-male trials, the outcome of male–male competition, or the fecundity of once-mated females. Although the African and Asian populations showed some evidence of mating incompatibility, the absence of symmetrical isolating factors suggests minimal barriers to gene flow.

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