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Individual Variation in Sperm Competition Success of Yellow Dung Flies, Scatophaga stercoraria

L. W. Simmons and G. A. Parker
Evolution
Vol. 46, No. 2 (Apr., 1992), pp. 366-375
DOI: 10.2307/2409857
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2409857
Page Count: 10
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Individual Variation in Sperm Competition Success of Yellow Dung Flies, Scatophaga stercoraria
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Abstract

Intraspecific variation in the proportion of offspring sired by the second male to mate with a female (P2) is an aspect of sperm competition that has received little attention. We examined variation in the sperm competition success of individual male dung flies, Scatophaga stercoraria. In unmanipulated matings, copula duration was dependent on male size with smaller males copulating for longer. A principal component analysis was used to generate uncorrelated scores based on a male's size and copula duration. Using these scores demonstrated that P2 values were dependent both on the relative size and copula durations of competing males. When copula duration was held constant, the success of an individual male increased as his body size, relative to the first male, increased. We interrupted copulations of "large" and "small" second males and fitted the resultant P2 values to a linear model of sperm competition with unequal ejaculates. The data fit well to a model of sperm displacement in which sperm mix quickly on introduction to the sperm stores. Furthermore, they show that "large" males have a greater rate of sperm displacement than "small" males. The levels of prey availability during testis maturation may influence a male's success in sperm competition although his immediate mating history does not. We show why an understanding of variation in sperm competition success is important for understanding the mechanisms and evolutionary significance of sperm competition.

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