Possible glimpses into early speciation: the effect of ovarian fluid on sperm velocity accords with post-copulatory isolation between two guppy populations

Alessandro Devigili, John Fitzpatrick, Clelia Gasparini, Indar Ramnarine, Jonathan Paul Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Identifying mechanisms of reproductive isolation is key to understanding speciation. Among the putative mechanisms underlying reproductive isolation, sperm–female interactions (post-mating–prezygotic barriers) are arguably the hardest to identify, not least because these are likely to operate at the cellular or molecular level. Yet sperm–female interactions offer great potential to prevent the transfer of genetic information between different populations at the initial stages of speciation. Here, we provide a preliminary test for the presence of a putative post-mating–prezygotic barrier operating between three populations of Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata), an internally fertilizing fish that inhabits streams with different levels of connectivity across Trinidad. We experimentally evaluate the effect of female ovarian fluid on sperm velocity (a predictor of competitive fertilization success) according to whether males and females were from the same (native) or different (foreign) populations. Our results reveal the potential for ovarian fluid to act as a post-mating–prezygotic barrier between two populations from different drainages, but also that the strength of this barrier is different among populations. This result may explain the previous finding that, in some populations, sperm from native males have precedence over foreign sperm, which could eventually lead to reproductive isolation between these populations. © 2017 European Society For Evolutionary Biology. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2017 European Society For Evolutionary Biology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-74
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

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