Precopulatory but not postcopulatory male reproductive traits diverge in response to mating system manipulation in Drosophila melanogaster

Published on Dec 1, 2017in Ecology and Evolution2.392
· DOI :10.1002/ECE3.3542
Kristina U. Wensing5
Estimated H-index: 5
(WWU: University of Münster),
Mareike Koppik6
Estimated H-index: 6
(WWU: University of Münster),
Claudia Fricke21
Estimated H-index: 21
(WWU: University of Münster)
Sources
Abstract
: Competition between males creates potential for pre- and postcopulatory sexual selection and conflict. Theory predicts that males facing risk of sperm competition should evolve traits to secure their reproductive success. If those traits are costly to females, the evolution of such traits may also increase conflict between the sexes. Conversely, under the absence of sperm competition, one expectation is for selection on male competitive traits to relax thereby also relaxing sexual conflict. Experimental evolution studies are a powerful tool to test this expectation. Studies in multiple insect species have yielded mixed and partially conflicting results. In this study, we evaluated male competitive traits and male effects on female costs of mating in Drosophila melanogaster after replicate lines evolved for more than 50 generations either under enforced monogamy or sustained polygamy, thus manipulating the extent of intrasexual competition between males. We found that in a setting where males competed directly with a rival male for access to a female and fertilization of her ova polygamous males had superior reproductive success compared to monogamous males. When comparing reproductive success solely in double mating standard sperm competition assays, however, we found no difference in male sperm defense competitiveness between the different selection regimes. Instead, we found monogamous males to be inferior in precopulatory competition, which indicates that in our system, enforced monogamy relaxed selection on traits important in precopulatory rather than postcopulatory competition. We discuss our findings in the context of findings from previous experimental evolution studies in Drosophila ssp. and other invertebrate species.
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The role of sexual selection in mediating levels of sexual conflict has been demonstrated in a number of experimental evolution studies on Drosophila sp. where the level of competition among males for fertilization success was under direct selection. Here we report that selection for a short development time and early age at reproduction can lead to inadvertent changes in levels of sexual selection in D. melanogaster populations, affecting reproductive competition experienced by males. We demons...
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Females of many different species often mate with multiple males, creating opportunities for competition among their sperm. Although originally unappreciated, sperm competition is now considered a central form of post-copulatory male-male competition that biases fertilization. Assays of differences in sperm competitive ability between males, and interactions between females and males, have made it possible to infer some of the main mechanism of sperm competition. Nevertheless, classical genetic ...
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