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Co-evolution of male and female reproductive traits across the Bruchidae (Coleoptera)

By Paul F. Rugman-Jones and Paul E. Eady


1.\ud Despite the obvious importance of spermatozoa to individual reproductive success a general\ud explanation of variation in spermatozoan form and function is still lacking. In species with internal\ud fertilization, sperm not only have to interact with the physical and biochemical environment of the\ud female reproductive tract, but frequently face competition from the sperm of rival males. Both\ud sperm competition theory and adaptation to the selective environment of the female reproductive\ud tract have been implicated in the evolution of spermatozoan morphological diversity.\ud 2.\ud Using the comparative method, we examine variation in sperm length in relation to (i) sperm\ud competition intensity (as measured by relative testis size) and (ii) female reproductive characters,\ud across 15 species of beetle belonging to the family Bruchidae.\ud 3.\ud Stepwise multiple regression within a phylogenetic framework revealed sperm length to be positively\ud correlated with female spermathecal duct length and negatively related to spermathecal volume,\ud but not testes size, indicating that the female reproductive environment rather than sperm\ud competition\ud per se\ud exerts selection on sperm length in this taxonomic group.\ud 4.\ud A positive association between testes volume and the volume of the female spermatheca was also\ud evident suggesting correlated evolution of these traits.\ud 5.\ud A number of models of sexual selection could lead to the correlated evolution of male and female\ud reproductive characters, although the underlying mechanisms of cause and effect remain elusive.\ud Divergence between species (and populations) in primary reproductive traits is likely to present a\ud significant barrier to hetero-specific fertilization, and thus contribute to reproductive isolation

Topics: C120 Behavioural Biology, C142 Reproductive Biology, C182 Evolution, C340 Entomology
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell for: British Ecological Society
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2008.01446.x
OAI identifier:

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