Interactions of mating, egg production and death rates in females of the Mediterranean fruitfly, Ceratitis capitata

Tracey Chapman, Miyatake Takahisa, Hazel K. Smith, Linda Partridge


Costs of reproduction include costs of producing eggs and of mating itself. In the present study, we made an experimental investigation of costs of reproduction in the Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly, Ceratitis capitata). We demonstrated that virgins live longer than non–virgin females. However, in strong contrast to most findings within the Diptera, non–virginity had no detectable effect on egg production. Therefore the increased longevity of the virgin females cannot be attributed to an increase in egg production in non–virgin females, and instead indicates a cost of mating. A comparison of the life spans of normal females and those sterilized by low doses of X–irradiation, revealed an additional cost of egg production. There were no significant differences in remating levels between females that did and did not lay eggs, showing that the cost of producing eggs is independent of mating frequency. Medfly females therefore suffer a decrease in survival as a result of egg production and of mating, and these costs are independent of one another. To put our results into context, we reviewed the existing literature on the effects of mating on longevity, egg production and sexual receptivity for 64 species of Diptera, and examined the pattern of mating effects that emerged.