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Mammalian sperm and oviducts are sexually selected: evidence for co-evolution


M. J. Anderson, Conservation and Research for Endangered Species, Zoological Society of San Diego, 15600 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, CA, 92027, USA.


Oviduct length was measured in 48 species representing 33 genera of mammals in order to examine possible relationships between female morphology and the occurrence of sperm competition due to matings with multiple males. Multiple regression analyses revealed that residuals of oviduct length were positively correlated both with residuals of testes weight and with sperm midpiece volume in the genera and species studied. These correlations remained significant after application of comparative analysis of independent contrasts to control for possible phylogenetic biases in the data set. These results indicate that sexual selection (relating to sperm competition and cryptic female choice) has influenced co-evolution of oviduct length, testes size and sperm morphology in mammals.