Multiple mating, sperm transfer and oviposition pattern in the giant sperm species, Drosophila bifurca


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Abstract

Many diverse traits are involved in gamete systems, and several models have analysed sperm length variation in terms of the intensity of sperm competition. This study investigates mating, sperm transfer and oviposition patterns in Drosophila bifurca, which possesses the longest sperm in the animal kingdom (about 6 cm). The prediction is that sperm gigantism should prevent male–male interaction. In this study, we examine how sperm transfer varies as males mate with a series of females, and how female receptivity changes with time after mating. As predicted, we found an extremely limited overlap of ejaculates owing to (1) reduced sperm transfer to females that had already mated, and (2) female remating depended both on the amount of sperm transferred and the modes of egg laying. The amount of sperm transferred to the female is discussed in relation to the peculiar morphology of the male reproductive tract and to sexual dimorphism and ecological hypotheses.

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