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Larger Ejaculate Volumes Are Associated with a Lower Degree of Polyandry across Bushcricket Taxa

Karim Vahed
Proceedings: Biological Sciences
Vol. 273, No. 1599 (Sep. 22, 2006), pp. 2387-2394
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25223614
Page Count: 8
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Larger Ejaculate Volumes Are Associated with a Lower Degree of Polyandry across Bushcricket Taxa
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Abstract

In numerous insects, including bushcrickets (Tettigoniidae), males are known to transfer substances in the ejaculate that inhibit the receptivity of females to further matings, but it has not yet been established whether these substances reduce the lifetime degree of polyandry of the female. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that larger ejaculate volumes should be associated with a lower degree of polyandry across tettigoniid taxa, controlling for male body mass and phylogeny. Data on ejaculate mass, sperm number, nuptial gift mass and male mass were taken primarily from the literature. The degree of polyandry for 14 species of European bushcrickets was estimated by counting the number of spermatodoses within the spermathecae field-caught females towards the end of their adult lifespans. Data for four further species were obtained from the literature. Data were analysed by using both species regression and independent contrasts to control for phylogeny. Multiple regression analysis revealed that, as predicted, there was a significant negative association between the degree of polyandry and ejaculate mass, relative to male body mass, across bushcricket taxa. Nuptial gift size and sperm number, however, did not contribute further to interspecific variation in the degree of polyandry. A positive relationship was found, across bushcricket taxa, between relative nuptial gift size and relative ejaculate mass, indicating that larger nuptial gifts allow the male to overcome female resistance to accepting large ejaculates. This appears to be the first comparative evidence that males can manipulate the lifetime degree of polyandry of their mates through the transfer of large ejaculates.

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