Male-biased sex ratio does not promote increased sperm competitiveness in the seed beetle, Callosobruchus maculatus

Kathryn Mcnamara, Stephen Robinson, M.E. Rosa, Nadia Sloan, Emile Van Lieshout, Leigh Simmons

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    Abstract

    Sperm competition risk and intensity can select for adaptations that increase male fertilisation success. Evolutionary responses are examined typically by generating increased strength of sexual selection via direct manipulation of female mating rates (by enforcing monandry or polyandry) or by alteration of adult sex ratios. Despite being a model species for sexual selection research, the effect of sexual selection intensity via adult sex-ratio manipulation on male investment strategies has not been investigated in the seed beetle, Callosobruchus maculatus. We imposed 32 generations of experimental evolution on 10 populations of beetles by manipulating adult sex ratio. Contrary to predictions, males evolving in male-biased populations did not increase their testes and accessory gland size. This absence of divergence in ejaculate investment was also reflected in the fact that males from male-biased populations were not more successful in either preventing females from remating, or in competing directly for fertilisations. These populations already demonstrate divergence in mating behaviour and immunity, suggesting sufficient generations have passed to allow divergence in physiological and behavioural traits. We propose several explanations for the absence of divergence in sperm competitiveness among our populations and the pitfalls of using sex ratio manipulation to assess evolutionary responses to sexual selection intensity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number28153
    JournalScientific Reports
    Volume6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2016

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