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Sperm Displacement Without Sperm Transfer in Drosophila melanogaster

Lawrence G. Harshman and Timothy Prout
Evolution
Vol. 48, No. 3 (Jun., 1994), pp. 758-766
DOI: 10.2307/2410484
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2410484
Page Count: 9
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Sperm Displacement Without Sperm Transfer in Drosophila melanogaster
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Abstract

In this paper we show that when Drosophila melanogaster females are mated twice, the semen of the second male causes a reduction of the effective number of resident sperm from the previous mating. This is demonstrated by two different kinds of experiments. In one set of experiments, mated females were remated to two different kinds of sterile males, one with normal semen and the other with deficient semen. The effect on the resident sperm was determined from the number of remaining progeny after mating to the sterile male, with the result that the normal semen reduced the amount of resident sperm in comparison with matings to the males with deficient semen. The second set of experiments employed interrupted matings. These experiments were based on the observation that semen is delivered before sperm during the first 5 min of copulation. The second matings were interrupted instantly, 2 min, and 4 min after the initiation of copulation. Compared to the instant interruptions, the two later interruptions had the effect of reducing the amount of resident sperm. The results of these two experiments clearly indicate that a spermincapacitation process plays a role in the well-documented phenomenon of sperm displacement (last-male advantage) in this species. Such a process could play a role in sperm displacement in the many cases where the mechanism is unknown.

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