Mating success in the western harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex occidentalis, increases with male size. We tested the hypothesis that increased mating success increases male fitness and the fitness of colonies that make large males by comparing the sperm content of males prior to and at the conclusion of the mating swarm. The number of sperm a male initially possesses is a function of male size, and large males transfer a greater proportion of their sperm than do small males. For colonies, the payoff per unit of investment is an increasing function of male size, and investment in large males is not equivalent to investing in a larger number of small males. Allocation ratios in species that show size variation in reproductives may need to be modified by the individual fitness functions.
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Vol. 55 • No. 2