In Drosophila melanogaster, prolonged exposure to males reduces the longevity and fecundity of females. This harm arises from the effects of male courtship behaviours and the toxic side effects of the accessory gland proteins (Acps) in their seminal fluids. Here, we examine the relationship between male exposure and its harmful effect on the lifetime fitness of his mates, and quantify the genetic basis for this variation. We found significant additive genetic variation in the magnitude of harm that males impose on females by exposing females to males from a variety of hemiclonal backgrounds for either a brief or prolonged period of time and measuring their fecundity, a meaningful fitness index. Furthermore, we discovered a strong negative correlation between the magnitude of harm and the short-term effects of male exposure on female fitness. We discuss the evolutionary significance of these results with regards to potential life-history trade-offs in females, and its relationship to male body size.
- Received February 8, 2016.
- Accepted April 6, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.