Sperm competition games played by dimorphic male beetles: fertilization gains with equal mating access

Joseph Leopold Tomkins, LW Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Alternative mating tactics can generate asymmetry in the sperm competition risk between males within species. Theory predicts that adaptations to sperm competition should arise in males facing the greater risk. This prediction is met in the dung beetle Onthophagus binodis where minor males which sneak copulations had a greater expenditure on the ejaculate. In its congener Onthophagus taurus there is a reduced asymmetry in sperm competition risk such that both tactics have equal ejaculate expenditure. We used the irradiated male technique to test,whether adaptations to sperm competition in minor males result ill higher paternity. We found that for both species, on average, each of two males gained equal numbers of fertilizations, confirming thr assumption that sperm compete in a raffle. There were no differences in the sperm competition success of major and minor males in O. taurus as predicted from their equal expenditure on their ejaculate. Contrary to expectations, there were also no differences in fertilization success between the male tactics in O. binodis. Thus, in O. binodis minor males must expend more on their ejaculate in order to obtain the same fertilization gains as major males.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1547-1553
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences
Volume267
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2000

Keywords

  • male dimorphism
  • sperm competition
  • Onthophagus
  • paternity
  • ONTHOPHAGUS-ACUMINATUS COLEOPTERA
  • EJACULATE SIZE
  • BODY-SIZE
  • SCARABAEIDAE
  • PRECEDENCE
  • RISK
  • HETEROPTERA
  • SELECTION
  • BEHAVIOR
  • FEMALES

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