Co-evolution of male and female reproductive characters across the Scathophagidae (Diptera)

Authors


D. J. Hosken, Zoology Museum, The University of Zürich, Winterthurerstr. 190, CH-8057 Zürich, Switzerland.
Tel.: +41 1 635 4773; fax: +41 1 635 6818;
e-mail: hosken@zoolmus.unizh.ch

Abstract

Sperm morphometry is extremely variable across species, but a general adaptive explanation for this diversity is lacking. As sperm must function within the female, variation in sperm form may be associated with variation in female reproductive tract morphology. We investigated this and other potential evolutionary associations between male and female reproductive characters across the Scathophagidae. Sperm length was positively associated with the length of the spermathecal (sperm store) ducts, indicating correlated evolution between the two. No association was found between sperm length and spermathecal size. However, the size of the spermathecae was positively associated with testis size indicating co-evolution between male investment in sperm production and female sperm storage capacity. Furthermore, species with a higher degree of polyandry (larger testes) had longer spermathecal ducts. However, no associations between sperm length or length variation and testis size were found which suggests greater sperm competition sensu stricto does not select for longer sperm.

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