Data from: Male butterflies use an anti-aphrodisiac pheromone to tailor ejaculates

  • Helena Mellstrom (Creator)
  • Kerstin Eriksson (Creator)
  • Niklas Janz (Creator)
  • Sören Nylin (Creator)
  • Mikael A. Carlsson (Creator)



1. When females mate with multiple partners, the risk of sperm competition depends on female mating history. To maximize fitness, males should adjust their mating investment according to this risk. In polyandrous butterflies males transfer a large, nutritious ejaculate at mating. Larger ejaculates delay female remating and confer an advantage in sperm competition. 2. We test if male ejaculate size in the butterfly Pieris napi (Lepidoptera) varies with female mating history and thus sperm competition, and whether males assess sperm competition using the male-transferred anti-aphrodisiac Methyl salicylate (MeS) as a cue. 3. Both sexes responded physiologically to MeS in a dose-dependent manner. Males; however, were more sensitive to MeS than females. 4. Ejaculates transferred by males mating with previously mated females were on average 26% larger than ejaculates transferred by males mating with virgin females, which conforms to sperm competition theory and indicates that males tailored their reproductive investment in response to sperm competition. Furthermore, ejaculates transferred by males mating with virgin females with artificially added MeS were also 26% larger than ejaculates transferred to control virgin females. 5. Male-transferred anti-aphrodisiac pheromone not only functions as a male deterrent, but also carries information on female mating history and thus allows males to assess sperm competition.,Relative intensity and behavioural dataExcel sheet showing relative intensity change of the chosen MeS glomerulus plus control values. Behavioural raw data. Statistics.Data Larsdotter-Mellstrom et al 2015 .xlsx,
Date made available9 Jul 2016

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