Co-evolution of male and female reproductive traits across the Bruchidae (Coleoptera)

Rugman-Jones, Paul F. and Eady, Paul E. (2008) Co-evolution of male and female reproductive traits across the Bruchidae (Coleoptera). Functional Ecology, 22 (5). pp. 880-886. ISSN 0269-8463

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Despite the obvious importance of spermatozoa to individual reproductive success a general
explanation of variation in spermatozoan form and function is still lacking. In species with internal
fertilization, sperm not only have to interact with the physical and biochemical environment of the
female reproductive tract, but frequently face competition from the sperm of rival males. Both
sperm competition theory and adaptation to the selective environment of the female reproductive
tract have been implicated in the evolution of spermatozoan morphological diversity.
Using the comparative method, we examine variation in sperm length in relation to (i) sperm
competition intensity (as measured by relative testis size) and (ii) female reproductive characters,
across 15 species of beetle belonging to the family Bruchidae.
Stepwise multiple regression within a phylogenetic framework revealed sperm length to be positively
correlated with female spermathecal duct length and negatively related to spermathecal volume,
but not testes size, indicating that the female reproductive environment rather than sperm
per se
exerts selection on sperm length in this taxonomic group.
A positive association between testes volume and the volume of the female spermatheca was also
evident suggesting correlated evolution of these traits.
A number of models of sexual selection could lead to the correlated evolution of male and female
reproductive characters, although the underlying mechanisms of cause and effect remain elusive.
Divergence between species (and populations) in primary reproductive traits is likely to present a
significant barrier to hetero-specific fertilization, and thus contribute to reproductive isolation.

Keywords:callosobruchus, comparative method, post-copulatory sexual selection, sperm
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
C Biological Sciences > C142 Reproductive Biology
C Biological Sciences > C182 Evolution
C Biological Sciences > C340 Entomology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:2640
Deposited On:09 Jun 2010 14:03

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