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Keywords:

  • development;
  • ejaculate evolution;
  • Nauphoeta cinerea;
  • sexual selection;
  • sperm allocation;
  • sperm competition

Abstract

Selective pressure arising from sperm competition has been predicted to influence evolutionary and behavioural adjustment of ejaculate investment, but also may influence developmental adjustment of ejaculate investment. Immature males able to target resources strategically based on the competitive environment they will experience when they become sexually mature should be at a selective advantage. In our study we investigated how the presence of potential competitors or mates affects ejaculate and testes investment during development in the cockroach Nauphoeta cinerea, a species where males control female remating via their ejaculate size (large spermatophores prevent females from remating and therefore function to avoid sperm competition for males) and females store sperm. Our aim was to determine whether the social environment influences developmental adjustment of ejaculate investment and the relative importance of ejaculate components with different functions; avoidance of or engagement in sperm competition. We conclude that the social environment can influence developmental and behavioural flexibility in specific ejaculate components that may function to avoid or engage in sperm competition.