Discriminating males alter sperm production between species

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Andrea S Aspbury, Caitlin R Gabor


Prezygotic reproductive isolation and its importance in speciation is traditionally approached from the viewpoint of those events that occur before mating. However, recent interest in sperm competition theory has shown that prezygotic isolation can be affected by mechanisms that occur after mating but before fertilization. One neglected aspect of these studies is how the cost of sperm production might play a role in species isolation. We examined differential sperm production in a species whose males are sexually parasitized by a unisexual gynogenetic species. Gynogens are clonal females that require sperm from males of closely related bisexual species to initiate embryogenesis. We tested for differential sperm production by male sailfin mollies (Poecilia latipinna) when they were in the presence of either a heterospecific, gynogenetic female (Poecilia formosa, Amazon molly) or a conspecific female. We found that previously demonstrated male mate choice for conspecific over heterospecific females also is revealed in sperm production. Males from both an allopatric and a sympatric population produce more sperm when in the presence of a conspecific female than when in the presence of a heterospecific female. We suggest that differ...Continue Reading


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Related Concepts

Complex (molecular entity)
Poecilia latipinna
Sexual Behavior, Animal
Embryonic Development
Sperm Competition
Poecilia formosa

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