Sex allocation predicts mating rate in a simultaneous hermaphrodite

Janicke, T. and Schärer, L.. (2009) Sex allocation predicts mating rate in a simultaneous hermaphrodite. Proceedings of the Royal Society. Series B, Biological sciences, 276 (1676). pp. 4247-4253.

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Sexual selection theory for separate-sexed animals predicts that the sexes differ in the benefit they can obtain from multiple mating. Conventional sex roles assume that the relationship between the number of mates and the fitness of an individual is steeper in males compared with females. Under these conditions, males are expected to be more eager to mate, whereas females are expected to be choosier. Here we hypothesize that the sex allocation, i.e. the reproductive investment devoted to the male versus female function, can be an important predictor of the mating strategy in simultaneous hermaphrodites. We argue that within-species variation in sex allocation can cause differences in the proportional fitness gain derived through each sex function. Individuals should therefore adjust their mating strategy in a way that is more beneficial to the sex function that is relatively more pronounced. To test this, we experimentally manipulated the sex allocation in a simultaneously hermaphroditic flatworm and investigated whether this affects the mating behaviour. The results demonstrate that individuals with a more male-biased sex allocation (i.e. relatively large testes and small ovaries) are more eager to mate compared with individuals with a more female-biased sex allocation (i.e. relatively small testes and large ovaries). We argue that this pattern is comparable to conventional gender roles in separate-sexed organisms.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Integrative Biologie > Evolutionary Biology (Schärer)
UniBasel Contributors:Schärer, Lukas and Janicke, Tim
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:The Royal Society
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:20 Sep 2017 08:07
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 14:13

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