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Superior sperm competitors sire higher-quality young

Hosken, D.J., Garner, T.W.J., Tregenza, T., Wedell, N. and Ward, P.I. (2003) Superior sperm competitors sire higher-quality young. Proceedingsof the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 270 (1527). pp. 1933-1938. ISSN 1471-2954

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The evolution of polyandry remains controversial. This is because, unlike males, in many cases multiple mating by females does not increase fecundity and inevitably involves some costs. As a result, a large number of indirect benefit models have been proposed to explain polyandry. One of these, the good sperm hypothesis, posits that high-quality males are better sperm competitors and sire higher-quality offspring. Hence, by mating multiply, females produce offspring of superior quality. Despite being potentially widely applicable across species, this idea has received little attention. In a laboratory experiment with yellow dung flies ( Scathophaga stercoraria ) we found that males that were more successful in sperm competition also had offspring that developed faster. There was no relationship between paternal success in sperm competition and the ability of offspring to survive post-emergence starvation. Since faster development times are likely to be advantageous in this species, our data provide some support for polyandry evolving as a means of producing higher-quality offspring via sperm competition.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2003 The Royal Society
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Biological Sciences (Leeds) > Institute of Integrative and Comparative Biology (Leeds)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2006
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 04:50
Status: Published
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1098/rspb.2003.2443
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/89

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