Multiple paternity in a natural population of a wild tobacco fly, Bactrocera cacuminata (Diptera: Tephritidae), assessed by microsatellite DNA markers
Mating frequency has important implications for patterns of sexual selection and sexual conflict and hence for issues such as speciation and the maintenance of genetic diversity. Knowledge of natural mating patterns can also lead to more effective control of pest tephritid species, in which suppression programmes, such as the sterile insect technique (SIT) are employed. Multiple mating by females may compromise the success of SIT. We investigated the level of polyandry and sperm utilization in a Brisbane field population of the tropical fruit fly, Bactrocera cacuminata (Hering), using seven polymorphic microsatellite loci. The offspring of 22 wild-caught gravid females were genotyped to determine the number of males siring each brood and paternity skew, using the programs gerud and scare. Our data showed that 22.7% of females produced offspring sired by at least two males. The mean number of mates per female was 1.72. Paternal contributions of double-sired broods were skewed with the most successful male having sired between 76.9% and 87.5% of the offspring. These results have implications for SIT, because the level of remating we have identified would indicate that wild females could mate with one or more resident fertile males.