Differential effects of male nutrient balance on pre- and post-copulatory traits, and consequences for female reproduction in Drosophila melanogaster.
Morimoto J., Wigby S.
Male fitness depends on the expression of costly traits involved in obtaining mates (pre-copulatory) and fertilization (post-copulatory). However, very little is known about the nutrient requirements for these traits and whether males compromise their diet to maximize one trait at the expense of another. Here we used Nutritional Geometry to investigate macronutrient requirements for pre- and post-copulatory traits in Drosophila, when males were the first or second to mate with females. We found no significant effects of male diet on sperm competitiveness. However, although males self-regulate their macronutrient intake at a protein-to-carbohydrate ratio ("P:C ratio") of 1:1.5, this ratio does not coincide with their optima for several key reproductive traits: both the short-term (~24 hr) rate of offspring production after a female's first mating, as well as the total offspring number sired when males were second to mate were maximized at a P:C ratio of 1:9, whereas male attractiveness (latency to mate), were maximised at a P:C ratio of 1:1. These results suggest a compromised optimum diet, and no single diet that simultaneously maximizes all male reproductive traits. The protein intake of first males also negatively affected female offspring production following remating, suggesting a long-term intersexual effect of male nutrition.