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Do popular males always lose out in sperm competition?

Fieret, T. (2011) Do popular males always lose out in sperm competition? Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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The process of sexual selection has been a fascinating topic for scientist for a long time and still is intensively studied. Darwin already suggested two pathways for evolution of traits under sexual selection: male-male competition and female choice. Parker realized that sexual selection can continue after copulation: sperm competition and cryptic female choice were found as potential pathways as well. These processes are not mutually exclusive, and can oppose or reinforce each other. Total male reproductive success is determined by a male’s ability to acquire matings (precopulatory processes) and his share in fertilized ova (postcopulatory processes). From a life history point of view, as resources are limited, one would expect a trade-off between investing in precopulatory and postcopulatory success. However, do popular males that have invested in secondary sexual characteristics, always lose out in sperm competition? The phenotype-linked fertility hypothesis states that females should prefer fertile males and that fertility is in some way linked to exaggerated secondary sexual traits. In this review I look at the relation between pre- and postcopulatory success. Do popular males always lose out in sperm competition? Or are they not only more successful in acquiring matings, but also more fertile? For this comparison I compiled the results of studies done on this relation and look for support for the alternative scenarios. For both hypotheses we can find species where such a system appears to be present. No clear condition determining the relation between pre- and postcopulatory success has been found. However, there does seem to be a trend for cryptic female choice to favor males that were also successful before copulation.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:46
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:46

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