Gametic asymmetry implies that females invest more per gamete than males do and thus sperm is considered to be a relatively cheap resource. However, contrary to this classic view, sperm has been shown to be frequently in short supply; hence, selection favouring females that mate for fertility benefits should occur. For this reason, we determined whether males signalling fertility are preferred by female newts of the species
Triturus alpestris . We performed paired female–male trials using unmated and previously inseminated females to determine potential
criteria for female interest in a courting male, to establish what factors lead to successful mating and to assess the importance of female choice for direct and indirect benefits. We found that female interest in any potential mate and
mating success decreased once mating had occurred. Furthermore, we detected an increase in spermatophore deposition rate and rapid spermatophore transfer in encounters that resulted in a successful mating. The results obtained indicate that female alpine newts are attracted to males showing signs of relatively high fertility and that females exhibit a decreased propensity to mate once initial sperm reserves have been acquired. Our results support the theory of initial female choice for fertility benefits.