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Sperm Allocation Strategies and Female Resistance: A Unifying Perspective

Lutz Fromhage, John M. McNamara and Alasdair I. Houston
The American Naturalist
Vol. 172, No. 1 (July 2008), pp. 25-33
DOI: 10.1086/587806
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/587806
Page Count: 9
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Sperm Allocation Strategies and Female Resistance: A Unifying Perspective
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Abstract

Abstract: The classical viewpoint in sperm competition theory, which holds that males evolve sperm allocation strategies in response to a given degree of sperm competition, has recently been challenged by an alternative viewpoint, which holds that the degree of sperm competition is itself a consequence of these same strategies. Here, we present a game theory model that unites these alternative views as the endpoints of a continuum. Based on the recognition that female control over mating may limit the extent to which male strategies affect the degree of sperm competition, we investigate sperm allocation strategies in a setting where females can resist excessive matings more or less successfully. We discuss how conflicting predictions made by previous theory relate to implicit assumptions about female resistance behavior. Moreover, we show that female resistance, while being highly relevant to the predicted relationship between ejaculate size and the degree of sperm competition, has little effect on the predicted positive correlation between relative testis size and the degree of sperm competition. This result strengthens one of the central predictions of sperm competition theory and is in accordance with empirical findings from a wide range of taxa.

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