Sperm traits in the quacking frog (Crinia georgiana), a species with plastic alternative mating tactics

A. Hettyey, Dale Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


In species where males use alternative reproductive tactics and male phenotypes are confronted with different risks of sperm competition, theory predicts that between-male-type differences in sperm expenditure may evolve. In the frog Crinia georgiana big males can monopolize females, whereas small males often engage in polyandrous matings. Consequently, big males may experience a lower risk of sperm competition than do small males. We tested if the predictions from theoretical models can be applied to the mating system of C. georgiana. Our results showed that small males do not have larger testes relative to their body size compared to their larger counterparts and that the efficiency with which sperm number, size, motility, and longevity are produced by the testes does not differ between small and large males in the predicted way. These results are not in alignment with predictions from a loaded raffle model of sperm competition on sperm expenditure in males with alternative phenotypes. The plasticity in mating tactics used by C. georgiana males and a high intraseasonal variation in male densities may have prevented the evolution of enhanced sperm performance in smaller males. A fair raffle in the sperm competition game played by C. georgiana males could also explain the observed patterns in sperm traits. Future investigations determining the parameters responsible for the deviation from theoretical predictions in this system will test the degree to which current theoretical models can indeed be applied to species with plastic reproductive tactics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1303-1310
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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