• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of procbhomepageaboutsubmitalertseditorial board
Proc Biol Sci. Nov 7, 2001; 268(1482): 2281–2286.
PMCID: PMC1088877

Sperm competition experiments between lines of crickets producing different sperm lengths.

Abstract

Sperm numbers can be important determinants of fertilization success in sperm competition. However, the importance of variation in sperm size is less well understood. Sperm size varies significantly both between and within species and comparative studies have suggested that some of this variance can be explained by sperm competition. In this study we examine whether variation in sperm length has consequences for fertilization precedence using controlled sperm competition experiments in the field cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. This species is an ideal model for such investigations because the mechanism of sperm competition generates complete mixing of different males' spermatozoa in the female (thereby allowing individual sperm to express their own competitive abilities). We successfully bred lines of crickets, the males of which produced short, medium and long sperm types with narrow and non-overlapping distributions. Males of different lines were then sequentially mated with control females in order to create two-male sperm competitions. The paternity outcomes of these competitions were measured after matings using an irradiated male technique (with a full reciprocal design that controls for natural fertility and any irradiation effects on gamete competitiveness) over a 12 day oviposition period. However, having successfully bred diverging sperm length lines and competing males that differed in sperm length, we found no evidence that a male's sperm size explained any of the variation in their relative fertilization success. Males from lines producing longer sperm showed no fertilization advantage over males producing shorter sperm across 97 double matings. There was also no advantage for males producing a sperm length close to the population mean over those competitors whose sperm length had been selectively diverged across 63 matings.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (117K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Gage MJ. Mammalian sperm morphometry. Proc Biol Sci. 1998 Jan 22;265(1391):97–103. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Gomendio M, Roldan ER. Sperm competition influences sperm size in mammals. Proc Biol Sci. 1991 Mar 22;243(1308):181–185. [PubMed]
  • Gomendio M, Roldan ER. Coevolution between male ejaculates and female reproductive biology in eutherian mammals. Proc Biol Sci. 1993 Apr 22;252(1333):7–12. [PubMed]
  • Karr TL. Intracellular sperm/egg interactions in Drosophila: a three-dimensional structural analysis of a paternal product in the developing egg. Mech Dev. 1991 Jun;34(2-3):101–111. [PubMed]
  • LaMunyon CW, Ward S. Larger sperm outcompete smaller sperm in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Proc Biol Sci. 1998 Oct 22;265(1409):1997–2002. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • LaMunyon CW, Ward S. Evolution of sperm size in nematodes: sperm competition favours larger sperm. Proc Biol Sci. 1999 Feb 7;266(1416):263–267. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Levitan DR. Sperm velocity and longevity trade off each other and influence fertilization in the sea urchin Lytechinus variegatus. Proc Biol Sci. 2000 Mar 22;267(1443):531–534. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Morrow EH, Gage MJ. The evolution of sperm length in moths. Proc Biol Sci. 2000 Feb 7;267(1440):307–313. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Parker GA. Why are there so many tiny sperm? Sperm competition and the maintenance of two sexes. J Theor Biol. 1982 May 21;96(2):281–294. [PubMed]
  • Pitnick S, Karr TL. Paternal products and by-products in Drosophila development. Proc Biol Sci. 1998 May 7;265(1398):821–826. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Ward PI. Intraspecific variation in sperm size characters. Heredity (Edinb) 1998 Jun;80(Pt 6):655–659. [PubMed]

Articles from Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences are provided here courtesy of The Royal Society

Formats:

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...

Links

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...