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Keywords:

  • Female fecundity;
  • inbreeding depression;
  • paternity success;
  • Physa acuta;
  • sexual selection;
  • sperm competition

Inbreeding depression has become a central theme in evolutionary biology and is considered to be a driving force for the evolution of reproductive morphology, physiology, behavior, and mating systems. Despite the overwhelming body of empirical work on the reproductive consequences of inbreeding, relatively little is known on whether inbreeding depresses male and female fitness to the same extent. However, sex-specific inbreeding depression has been argued to affect the evolution of selfing rates in simultaneous hermaphrodites and provides a powerful approach to test whether selection is stronger in males than in females, which is predicted to be the consequence of sexual selection. We tested for sex-specific inbreeding depression in the simultaneously hermaphroditic freshwater snail Physa acuta by comparing the reproductive performance of both sex functions between selfed and outcrossed focal individuals under different levels of male–male competition. We found that inbreeding impaired both male and female reproductive success and that the magnitude of male inbreeding depression exceeded female inbreeding depression when the opportunity for sperm competition was highest. Our study provides the first evidence for sex-specific inbreeding depression in a hermaphroditic animal and highlights the importance of considering the level of male–male competition when assessing sex differences in inbreeding depression.