Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.

Is Sperm Really so Cheap? Costs of Reproduction in Male Adders, Vipera berus

Mats Olsson, Thomas Madsen and Richard Shine
Proceedings: Biological Sciences
Vol. 264, No. 1380 (Mar. 22, 1997), pp. 455-459
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/50437
Page Count: 5
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Is Sperm Really so Cheap? Costs of Reproduction in Male Adders, Vipera berus
Preview not available

Abstract

Reproduction is energetically expensive for males as well as for females, but evolutionary biologists have typically regarded the energy costs of sperm production as trivial compared to the energy costs of overt reproductive behaviours, such as mate-searching, courtship, copulation and male-male combat. Adders (Vipera berus) offer an ideal model system in which to quantify the relative costs of spermatogenesis (and associated physiological preparations for reproductive activity) versus the costs of overt reproductive behaviours, because (i) these two activities occur sequentially rather than simultaneously, and are separated by a clear indicator (sloughing of the skin); and (ii) males do not feed during either of these phases. Hence, the rate of mass loss by males can be used as an index of energy costs. Surprisingly, the rate of mass loss is at least as high during the phase when males are immobile, building up sperm supplies, as when they move about and engage in reproductive behaviour. Rates of mass loss are not significantly correlated with male size or measures of the male's participation in reproductive activities. Our data suggest that sperm production may be a major energy cost to reproducing male adders, and that this species offers a useful system in which to further investigate this possibility.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
455
    455
  • Thumbnail: Page 
456
    456
  • Thumbnail: Page 
457
    457
  • Thumbnail: Page 
458
    458
  • Thumbnail: Page 
459
    459