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The evolution of sperm morphometry in pheasants

By S. Immler, M. Saint-Jalme, L. Lesobre, G. Sorci, Y. Roman and T.R. Birkhead


Postcopulatory sexual selection is thought to be a potent evolutionary force driving the\ud diversification of sperm shape and function across species. In birds, insemination and\ud fertilisation are separated in time and sperm storage increases the duration of sperm\ud female interaction and hence the opportunity for sperm competition and cryptic female\ud choice. We performed a comparative study of 24 pheasant species (Phasianidae,\ud Galliformes) to establish the relative importance of sperm competition and the duration of\ud sperm storage for the evolution of sperm morphometry (i.e. size of different sperm traits).\ud We found that sperm size traits were negatively associated with the duration of sperm\ud storage but were independent of the risk of sperm competition estimated from relative\ud testis mass. Our study emphasises the importance of female reproductive biology for the\ud evolution of sperm morphometry particularly in sperm storing taxa.\u

Publisher: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology
Year: 2007
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