Scientists Cannot Explain Why Female Beetles Mate With Multiple Males

Seed beetles are polyandrous

Seed beetles are polyandrous – females mate with multiple males, and choose which sperm will fertilize their eggs afterward. Scientists long believed they did this to get the best sperm. But a new study shows the fittest males always lose.

A study published today in Science details a series of careful experiments Swedish researchers conducted on mating seed beetles (pictured). They want to find out what the benefits were to females who mated with multiple males, given that multiple matings could be dangerous to their health for a variety of reasons. The accepted wisdom is that females mate with many men because they can choose which sperm fertilize their eggs after mating. Basically, more men equals a bigger and better smorgasbord to choose from in the genetics department.

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