Male wing color properties predict the size of nuptial gifts given during mating in the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor)

Parth K. Rajyaguru, Kimberly V. Pegram, Alexandra C N Kingston, Ronald L. Rutowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-513
Number of pages7
JournalNaturwissenschaften
Volume100
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2013

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Battus philenor
nuptial gift
Papilionidae
butterfly
color
spermatophore
spermatophores
copulation
duration
body size

Keywords

  • Iridescence
  • Material benefits
  • Sexual coloration
  • Spermatophore
  • Swallowtail butterfly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Male wing color properties predict the size of nuptial gifts given during mating in the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor). / Rajyaguru, Parth K.; Pegram, Kimberly V.; Kingston, Alexandra C N; Rutowski, Ronald L.

In: Naturwissenschaften, Vol. 100, No. 6, 06.2013, p. 507-513.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rajyaguru, Parth K. ; Pegram, Kimberly V. ; Kingston, Alexandra C N ; Rutowski, Ronald L. / Male wing color properties predict the size of nuptial gifts given during mating in the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor). In: Naturwissenschaften. 2013 ; Vol. 100, No. 6. pp. 507-513.
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