Malathion-specific resistance in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, is widespread and stable in natural populations even in the absence of pesticide exposure. To understand this stability, both resistant and susceptible males were placed in competition for susceptible female fertilization. Females were then isolated and their progeny was tested for malathion susceptibility. Male reproductive success was estimated for populations originating from different geographic areas and for isogenic strains. In most cases, resistant males had a greater reproductive success rate than susceptibles. The results suggest that male reproductive success is not traded against the selection for malathion resistance, even resistant individuals are at an advantage for this fitness trait. This absence of fitness cost may be the result of postselection of (1) modifier gene which ameliorate the fitness of resistant individuals or (2) nondeleterious resistance gene. Resistant phenotype superiority could be due to increased male mating success, improved ability of resistant males in sperm competition, female mate choice, and/or cryptic female choice of resistance gene(s). The effect of male phenotypic frequency on male reproductive success was also examined. We observed that male fertilization success is frequency dependent and inversely related to their frequency. However, this “rare male” advantage did not counteract the superiority of the resistant males.
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Vol. 56 • No. 12