In many animals, males bear bright ornamental color patches that may signal both the direct and indirect benefits that a female might accrue from mating with him. Here we test whether male coloration in the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly, Battus philenor, predicts two potential direct benefits for females: brief copulation duration and the quantity of materials the male passes to the female during mating. In this species, males have a bright iridescent blue field on the dorsal hindwing surface, while females have little or no dorsal iridescence. Females preferentially mate with males who display a bright and highly chromatic blue field on their dorsal hindwing. In this study, we show that the chroma of the blue field on the male dorsal hindwing and male body size (forewing length) significantly predict the mass of material or spermatophore that a male forms within the female's copulatory sac during mating. We also found that spermatophore mass correlated negatively with copulation duration, but that color variables did not significantly predict this potential direct benefit. These results suggest that females may enhance the material benefits they receive during mating by mating with males based on the coloration of their dorsal hindwing.
- Material benefits
- Sexual coloration
- Swallowtail butterfly
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics