Deleterious mutations can accumulate in the germline with age, decreasing the genetic quality of sperm and imposing a cost on female fitness. If these mutations also affect sperm competition ability or sperm production, then females will benefit from polyandry as it incites sperm competition and, consequently, minimizes the mutational load in the offspring. We tested this hypothesis in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata), a species characterized by polyandry and intense sperm competition, by investigating whether age affects post-copulatory male traits and sperm competition success. Females did not discriminate between old and young males in a mate choice experiment. While old males produced longer and slower sperm with larger reserves of strippable sperm, compared to young males, artificial insemination did not reveal any effect of age on sperm competition success. Altogether, these results do not support the hypothesis that polyandry evolved in response to costs associated with mating with old males in the guppy.

Effect of male age on sperm traits and sperm competition success in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata)

GASPARINI, CLELIA;MARINO, ILARIA ANNA MARIA;BOSCHETTO, CHIARA;PILASTRO, ANDREA AUGUSTO
2010

Abstract

Deleterious mutations can accumulate in the germline with age, decreasing the genetic quality of sperm and imposing a cost on female fitness. If these mutations also affect sperm competition ability or sperm production, then females will benefit from polyandry as it incites sperm competition and, consequently, minimizes the mutational load in the offspring. We tested this hypothesis in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata), a species characterized by polyandry and intense sperm competition, by investigating whether age affects post-copulatory male traits and sperm competition success. Females did not discriminate between old and young males in a mate choice experiment. While old males produced longer and slower sperm with larger reserves of strippable sperm, compared to young males, artificial insemination did not reveal any effect of age on sperm competition success. Altogether, these results do not support the hypothesis that polyandry evolved in response to costs associated with mating with old males in the guppy.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/2446838
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