SPERM COMPETITIVE ABILITY AND INDICES OF LIFETIME REPRODUCTIVE SUCCESS

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Abstract

Understanding the selection pressures shaping components of male reproductive success is essential for assessing the role of sexual selection on phenotypic evolution. A male's competitive reproductive success is often measured in sequential mating tests by recording P1 (first mating male) and P2 (second mating male) paternity scores. How each of these scores relates to a male's overall fitness, for example, lifetime reproductive success is, however, not known. This information is needed to determine whether males benefit from maximizing both P1 and P2 or by trading off P1 against P2 ability. We measured P1, P2, and an index of lifetime reproductive success (LRSi, a male's competitive reproductive success measured over 12 days) for individual male Drosophila melanogaster. We found no evidence for phenotypic correlations between P1 and P2. In addition, whereas both P1 and P2 were associated with relative LRSi, only P2 predicted absolute LRSi. The results suggest that P2 was most closely linked to LRSi in the wild-type population studied, a finding which may be common to species with strong second male sperm precedence. The study illustrates how P1 and P2 can have differing relationships with a male's overall reproductive success, and highlights the importance of understanding commonly used measures of sperm competition in the currency of fitness.

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