No inbreeding depression in sperm storage ability or offspring viability in Drosophila melanogaster females

Outi Ala-Honkola, Mollie K. Manier, Stefan Lüpold, Elizabeth M. Droge-Young, William F. Collins, John M. Belote, Scott Pitnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Mating between relatives usually decreases genetic quality of progeny as deleterious recessive alleles are expressed in inbred individuals. Inbreeding degrades sperm traits but its effects on sperm storage and fate within females are currently unknown. We quantified the relationship between the degrees of inbreeding relevant to natural populations (f= 0, 0.25 and 0.50) and the number of sperm inseminated and stored, sperm swimming speed, long-term sperm viability while in storage, pattern of sperm precedence, mating latency, and offspring viability of female Drosophila melanogaster. The use of transgenic flies that have either red or green fluorescent sperm heads allowed us to distinguish two ejaculates in the female reproductive tract and facilitated quantification of sperm storage and use traits. We found no inbreeding depression in either long- or short-term sperm storage ability. The most inbred females exhibited significantly longer mating latency, which could be explained by males preferring to mate with outbred females. On the other hand, as no evidence for cryptic male choice in the form of ejaculate tailoring of sperm number was found, the most inbred females might just be less eager to mate. We also found no evidence that the degree of maternal inbreeding influenced offspring viability. Comparison with a contemporaneous study of male inbreeding consequences for ejaculate quality suggests that inbreeding depression is more severe in males than in females in our study population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Inbreeding depression
  • Male choice
  • Sperm storage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Insect Science


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