Mitra is coauthor of published paper in leading international publication

Mar 09, 2016

Chandreyee Mitra, North Central College assistant professor of biology, coauthored a paper that has been published in Animal Behaviour, a top peer-reviewed behavior journal for the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Titled “Fed males increase oviposition in female hawkmoths via non-nutritive direct benefits,” the paper is the product of some of Mitra's postdoctoral work with colleagues Eran Levin and Goggy Davidowitz at the University of Arizona.

The paper also was chosen as one of two featured articles, titled “The Value of a Male’s Gift—to Himself, and to His Mate,” in the February issue’s “In Focus” section.

Males of many species provide their mates with nuptial gifts (materials other than sperm) before or during mating that may benefit their mates in some way. These can range from a simple prey gift to, in the most extreme cases, males being eaten by their mates. In this study, the researchers set about investigating these gifts in Carolina sphinx moths, Manduca sexta.

Males of these moths transfer a large spermatophore (a package of sperm and other materials) to their mates during mating. Mitra and her colleagues asked (a) whether feeding on nectar vs. water as adults affects male traits, (b) whether females mated to nectar-fed males produce more eggs, and (c) by the clever use of radiolabeled sugar, whether sugar consumed by males ends up in their mates. They found that feeding males affected their mating success, the size of the spermatophore they gave their mates, and the size of their flight muscles. In addition, females mating with fed males laid more eggs. Oddly, while male spermatophores were found to have lots of radiolabeled sugar, this sugar did not end up in either the female or in her eggs.

At North Central, Mitra plans to continue working on the mating behavior of insects. If you are interested in learning more, click here to view Mitra’s faculty profile.