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J Evol Biol. 2008 May;21(3):827-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2008.01513.x. Epub 2008 Feb 29.

A measure of sexual selection in hermaphroditic animals: parentage skew and the opportunity for selection.

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1
Department of Animal and Human Biology, University of Turin, Turin, Italy. cristina.lorenzi@unito.it

Abstract

The role of sexual selection in shaping the mating system of hermaphrodites is currently widely accepted. However, a quantification of the intensity of sexual selection in hermaphroditic animals has never been accomplished. We evaluated the opportunity for sexual selection for both the female and the male functions in the simultaneous outcrossing hermaphrodite Ophryotrocha diadema by measuring focal hermaphrodites' paternal and maternal offspring in experimental replicated monogamous and promiscuous populations, using genetic markers to estimate paternity. Opportunity for sexual selection for each of the two sexual functions was quantified by means of the Crow's index, i.e. the ratio of variance in progeny number to the squared mean number of progeny. In addition, the extent to which the reproductive success was shared among competing individuals was estimated by means of the Nonacs's B index. We documented that the strength of selection on the male and female function in hermaphrodites with external fertilization depends on the reproductive context. Under a promiscuous regime, hermaphrodites have higher opportunities for selection for both the male and the female function than under the monogamous regime. Moreover, the reproductive skew for the female function becomes greater than that for the male function, moving from monogamy to promiscuity. In our model system, allocation to one sexual function is opposed by any degree of allocation to the other, indicating that sex-specific patterns of selection operate in this model species.

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