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J Evol Biol. 2008 Mar;21(2):471-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2007.01494.x. Epub 2008 Jan 17.

Correlated evolution between male ejaculate allocation and female remating behaviour in seed beetles (Bruchidae).

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Evolutionary Biology Centre, Department of Animal Ecology, Uppsala University, Sweden.


Sperm competition theory suggests that female remating rate determines the selective regime that dictates the evolution of male ejaculate allocation. To test for correlated evolution between female remating behaviour and male ejaculate traits, we subjected detailed experimental data on female and male reproductive traits in seven-seed beetle species to phylogenetic comparative analyses. The evolution of a larger first ejaculate was positively correlated with the evolution of a more rapid decline in ejaculate size over successive matings. Further, as predicted by theory, an increase in female remating rate correlated with the evolution of larger male testes but smaller ejaculates. However, an increase in female remating was associated with the evolution of a less even allocation of ejaculate resources over successive matings, contrary to classic sperm competition theory. We failed to find any evidence for coevolution between the pattern of male ejaculate allocation and variation in female quality and we conclude that some patterns of correlated evolution are congruent with current theory, whereas some are not. We suggest that this may reflect the fact that much sperm competition theory does not fully incorporate other factors that may affect the evolution of male and female traits, such as trade-offs between ejaculate expenditure and other competing demands and the evolution of resource acquisition.

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