Student NameCaroline Miller
Faculty Mentor NameDr. Michael Forthman
CollegeCollege of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Research InterestsSexual Selection, Evolutionary Biology
Hobbies and InterestsI enjoy taking time to explore and photograph nature preserves.

Research Project

Resource allocation trade-offs among male reproductive traits in insects

Survival to reproductive age, acquiring mates, and producing offspring factor into an individual’s overall fitness. In many species, males engage in competitive behaviors to increase their fitness. One such behavior is direct physical combat with weapons to gain high quality territories and mates. However, when females can mate with multiple males, investing resources in weapons may not increase a male’s reproductive success. In such cases, males may invest more resources in primary sexual traits, such as testis size, to increase fertilization success by out-competing the sperm from other males in the female reproductive tract. Thus, there may be a trade-off in investment between weapons and testes to achieve reproductive success. The leaf-footed bug Piezogaster calcarator is an excellent addition to the few other leaf-footed bug species studied thus far for the presence of a trade-off among weapons and testes. This study will further our understanding of life-history trade-offs and the evolutionary history of reproductive trade-offs.