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Cryptic male choice: sperm allocation strategies when female quality varies


Kurtz,  J.
Department Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Reinhold, K., Kurtz, J., & Engqvist, L. (2002). Cryptic male choice: sperm allocation strategies when female quality varies. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 15(2), 201-209.

We examined evolutionary stable sperm allocation and included stochastic variation in male mating frequency, not included in previous models examining sperm allocation strategies. We assumed sperm mixing and variation in female quality and used a genetic algorithm to analyse the evolution of male sperm allocation. Our results show that males should invest more sperm in initial copulations than in subsequent copulations as a male might fail to mate again. The inclusion of variation in female fecundity had no influence on the evolutionary stable sperm allocation strategy if males were unable to recognize female quality. If males were assumed to allocate sperm in response to female quality, the proportion of sperm allocated was positively correlated with female quality. Moreover, with increasing variance in female quality, males conserved more sperm for later copulations. Literature data on sperm allocation from diverse taxa show a good fit with the predictions given by our model