The deleterious effects of high inbreeding on male Drosophila melanogaster attractiveness are observed under competitive but not under non-competitive conditions.
Inbreeding frequently leads to inbreeding depression, a reduction in the trait values of inbred individuals. Inbreeding depression has been documented in sexually selected characters in several taxa, and while there is correlational evidence that male fertility is especially susceptible to inbreeding depression, there have been few direct experimental examinations of this. Here, we assessed inbreeding depression in male fertility and a range of other male fitness correlates in Drosophila simulans. We found that male fertility and attractiveness were especially susceptible to inbreeding depression. Additionally, levels of testicular oxidative stress were significantly elevated in inbred males, although sperm viability did not differ between inbred and outbred males. Copulation duration, induction of oviposition, and the proportion of eggs hatching did not differ for females mated to inbred or outbred males. Nevertheless, our results clearly show that key male fitness components are impaired by inbreeding and provide evidence that aspects of male fertility are especially susceptible to inbreeding depression.