Evol Ecol Res 11: 975-982 (2009)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

The sexually selected sperm hypothesis, maternal effects, and sperm competitive success in the bulb mite Rhizoglyphus robini

M. Konior1, J. Radwan1 and L. Keller2

1Institute of Environmental Sciences, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland and 2Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland

Correspondence: M. Konior, Institute of Environmental Sciences, Jagiellonian University, ul. Gronostajowa 7, 30-387 Krakow, Poland.
e-mail: magdalena.konior@uj.edu.pl


Background: The sexually selected sperm hypothesis predicts that selection will favour female multiple mating by increasing the sperm competitive abilities of their sons.

Hypothesis: Sons of multiply mated females should have higher sperm competitive abilities than sons of singly mated females.

Organism: The bulb mite, Rhizoglyphus robini (Acari: Acaridae).

Methods: Rhizoglyphus is a highly promiscuous species in which females gain no direct benefits from multiple matings. Virgin females were mated to one or six males. Sons of singly and multiply mated females were allowed to compete with each other for access to females’ ova. Sperm competitiveness was estimated by the sterile male method.

Results: Contrary to the predictions of the hypothesis, we found no difference in sperm competitiveness between sons of singly and multiply mated females. We suggest that non-genetic effects could explain this result.

Keywords: bulb mite, maternal effects, polyandry, sexually selected sperm hypothesis, sperm competition.

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