Rate of ejaculate breakdown and intermating intervals in monarch butterflies

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Both mass and nitrogen content of ejaculates transferred by male monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) varied with male history. Older virgins and males that had waited longer after a previous mating transferred larger ejaculates with more nitrogen. After mating, ejaculates were broken down within the female bursa copulatrix; mass and nitrogen content decreased at constant rates until little material remained. Because the time required for breakdown of large spermatophores is longer than the intermating interval, a significant portion of a male's investment could be used to benefit offspring from other males.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-373
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 1992

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