Sperm competition is a well-recognised agent in the evolution of sperm and ejaculate structure, as well as variation in female quality. Models of the evolution of ejaculate expenditure predict that male body condition, female fecundity and the risk and intensity of sperm competition may be the ultimate factors shaping optimal ejaculate size. We investigated sperm allocation in Austro-potamobius italicus, a freshwater crayfish exhibiting a coercive mating system and external fertilisation, in relation to male and female traits and copulation behaviour under laboratory conditions. We found that mating males were sensitive to female size and produced larger ejaculates when mating with larger females, which were more fecund in terms of number of eggs produced. We found no evidence for female egg production being sperm-limited, as the number of eggs was not dependent on male sperm expenditure. Copulation duration and number of ejaculations reliably predicted the amount of sperm transferred and both these behavioural measures positively covaried with female body size. These results indicate that male freshwater crayfish can modulate their sperm expenditure in accordance with cues that indicate female fecundity. In addition, a novel finding that emerged from this study is the decrease in sperm expenditure with male body size, which may either suggest that large, old male crayfish are better able than small males to economise sperm at a given mating to perform multiple matings during a reproductive season, or that they experience senescence of their reproductive performance.
|Titolo:||Sperm allocation in relation to male traits, female size, and copulation behaviour in freshwater crayfish species|
RUBOLINI, DIEGO (Corresponding)
|Parole Chiave:||Arthropoda; decapoda; fecundity; senescence; sperm competition; sperm economy; sperm limitation|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore BIO/07 - Ecologia|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2006|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1007/s00265-005-0158-9|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|