U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



Ann Appl Biol 170 (2017) 415–424


This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.



Insecticide resistance is a broadly recognised and well-studied management problem resulting from intensive insecticide use, which also provides useful evolutionary models of newly adapted phenotypes to changing environments. Two common assumptions in such models are the existence of fitness costs associated with insecticide resistance, which will place the resistant individuals at a disadvantage in insecticide-free environments, and the prevalence of random mating among insecticide-resistant and -susceptible individuals. However, cases of insecticide resistance lacking apparent fitness disadvantages do exist impacting the evolution and management of insecticide resistance. Assortative mating, although rarely considered, may also favour the evolution and spread of insecticide resistance. Thus, the possible existence of both conditions in the maize weevil (Sitophilus zeamais), a key pest of stored cereals, led to the assessment of the mating behaviour and reproductive fitness of insecticide-resistant and -susceptible weevil strains and their reciprocal crosses. The patterns of female and male mating choice also were assessed. Although mating behaviour within and between weevil strains was similar without mate choice, mating within the resistant strain led to higher reproductive output than within the susceptible strain; inter-strain matings led to even higher fertility. Thus, no apparent fitness cost associated with resistance seems to exist in these weevils, favouring the evolution of this phenotype that is further aided by the higher fertility of inter-strain matings. Mate choice reduced latency to mate and no inter-strain preference was detected, but female weevils were consistent in their mate selection between 1st and 2nd matings indicating existence of female mating preference among maize weevils. Therefore, if female mate selection comes to favour trait(s) associated with insecticide resistance, higher reproductive fitness will be the outcome of such matings favouring the evolution and spread of insecticide resistance among maize weevil populations reverting into a management concern.