Centre for Evolutionary Biology

Postgraduate research profiles

Contact

Carly Wilson

Phone: (+61 8) 6488 2241


Start date

Feb 2010

Submission date

Jul 2013

Carly Wilson

Carly Wilson profile photo

Thesis

Genetic and Environmental Effects on Sexual Conflict in the Seed Beetle (Callosobruchus maculatus)

Summary

A small brown beetle (Callosobruchus maculatus) that infests stored legumes has become an important species for studying evolution. This is because each sex has evolved sexually antagonistic traits that increase their fitness regardless of the cost to their mates. Males have spiny aedeagi that damage the walls of the female genital tract during copulation; prolonging mating and delaying remating. Females have apparently evolved a kicking behaviour that confers resistance to males’ attempts to prolong matings. My research aims to quantify the antagonistic traits of males and females in this species by manipulating the females’ ability to kick males. I will investigate how the environment affects the optimal mating duration of females and estimate the genetic architecture of the resistance and persistence of females and males.

Why my research is important

Polyandry is poorly understood area of sexual selection; this research will be able to shed some light in the area of sexual conflict by using a quantitative genetic approach and testing the plasticity of male persistence and female resistance under differing mating environments. This quantification has not previously been done in the context of sexual conflict and will help advance the understanding of evolution through sexual selection. By manipulating the copula duration we gain an insight into how male and female fitness is affected both up to and beyond full ejaculate transfer, and discover if females react optimally to changes in the mating arena.

Also, by examining the effects of the environment on a range of traits (fecundity, longevity, lifetime offspring production etc), contradictions in literature about sexual conflict in C. maculatus may possibly be brought together by attributing differing results to differing environments.

Funding

  • School of Animal Biology
  • APA Scholarship

Callosobruchus maculatus mating
 

Centre for Evolutionary Biology

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Last updated:
Friday, 30 November, 2012 10:15 AM

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