Asymmetry in traits of sexual relevance may impair copulation behaviour and sexual performance of males, ultimately resulting in a fitness cost. Freshwater crayfish males use chelae, a sexually selected trait, to secure and position the female prior to and during mating. Thus, a relatively large chelae asymmetry, resulting from accidental loss and regeneration of one cheliped after autotomy, could have great consequences for male sexual behaviour. We studied copulatory behaviour and sperm expenditure of males paired to a mated female in Austropotamobius italicus, a freshwater crayfish species where both male and female mate multiply and where last-mating males are able to actively remove previously deposited sperm. We aimed at assessing whether male sperm removal and expenditure varied according to sperm allocated by first-mating males, and according to copulation behaviour and phenotypic traits (carapace length, chelae length and relative chelae asymmetry) of second-mating males. Second-mating males did not adjust their ejaculate size in relation to first-mating male ejaculate, nor to the first-mating male’s sperm removed. Moreover, the amount of sperm removed by second-mating males increased with increasing first-mating males ejaculate size, and first-mating male sperm remaining after removal did not correlate with the original first-mating male ejaculate size. Interestingly, the amount of sperm removed by second-mating males decreased with increasing relative chelae asymmetry, while increasing with male body size. However, second-mating (but not first-mating) asymmetric-clawed males produced larger ejaculates than symmetric-clawed ones. Importantly, the proportion of second-mating male sperm remaining after the two matings did not vary with relative chelae asymmetry nor with body size of second-mating males. Thus, small, asymmetric-clawed crayfish males appear to adopt sperm allocation tactics that allow them to fully compensate for their inferior sperm removal ability.
|Titolo:||Sperm removal and ejaculate size correlate with chelae asymmetry in a freshwater crayfish species|
RUBOLINI, DIEGO (Secondo)
|Parole Chiave:||Astacidae; Asymmetry; Chelae; Sexual selection; Sperm competition; Sperm expenditure; Sperm removal|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore BIO/07 - Ecologia|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2008|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1007/s00265-008-0602-8|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|