The relationship between mating success and paternity success is a key component of sexual selection but has seldom been estimated for species in which both sexes mate with many partners (polygynandry). We used a modification of Parker's sterile male technique to measure this relationship for the water strider Aquarius remigis in 47 laboratory populations simulating natural conditions of polygynandry. We also tested the hypothesis that prolonged copulation, a characteristic of this species, enhances paternity success. Mating behavior and paternity success were assayed for four days while males and females freely interacted. Paternity success was also assayed for an additional 7 days when females were isolated from males. Mating success significantly predicted paternity success and accounted for ≤ 36% of the variance. Copulation duration was negatively related to both mating success and paternity success and did not explain any of the residual variance in paternity success. Thus, we found no evidence that prolonged copulation functions as a paternity assurance strategy in this species. Comparisons of sterile and fertile males suggested that paternity success is directly influenced by the quantity of sperm transferred. Our results support previous studies that have used mating success to estimate sexual selection, but also highlight the potential importance of sperm competition and other postinsemination processes.
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