In species where females mate promiscuously, the reproductive success of males depends both on their ability to acquire mates (pre-copulatory sexual selection) and ability of their ejaculates to outcompete those of other males (post-copulatory sexual selection). Sperm competition theory predicts a negative relationship between investment in body traits favouring mate acquisition (secondary sexual characters, SSCs) and investment in ejaculate size or quality, due to the inherent costs of sperm production. In contrast, the phenotype-linked fertility hypothesis posits that male fertilizing efficiency is reliably reflected by the phenotypic expression of male SSCs, allowing females to obtain direct benefits by selecting more ornamented males as copulation partners. In this study, we investigated the relationships between male SSCs and size and quality (viability and longevity) of ejaculates allocated to females in mating trials of the freshwater crayfish Austropotamobius italicus. We showed that the relative size of male weapons, the chelae, was negatively related to ejaculate size, and that chelae asymmetry, resulting from regeneration of lost chelipeds, negatively covaried with sperm longevity. Moreover, males allocated more viable sperm to mates from their own rather than different stream of origin. Our findings thus suggest that, according to sperm competition theory, pre-copulatory sexual selection for large weapons used in male fighting may counteract post-copulatory sperm competition in this crayfish species, and that investment in cheliped regeneration may impair ejaculate quality.
|Titolo:||Sperm traits negatively covary with size and asymmetry of a secondary sexual trait in a freshwater crayfish|
RUBOLINI, DIEGO (Ultimo)
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore BIO/07 - Ecologia|
Settore BIO/05 - Zoologia
|Data di pubblicazione:||2012|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1371/journal.pone.0043771|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|