, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 111-114

Can we predict the mating pattern ofDrosophila females from the sperm length distribution in males?

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Summary

In order to test the validity of the prediction of the mating pattern of females from the sperm length distribution in males, three species ofDrosophila were analysed. Males in the three species are equally polygynous but females differ in the level of polyandry. A ‘low recurrence polyandry’ is observed in the sperm dimorphic speciesD. affinis while a ‘high recurrence polyandry’ is observed in the sperm monomorphic speciesD. latifasciaeformis andD. littoralis. These results are consistent with the hypothesis proposed previously that sperm dimorphism in males can only be maintained by a selective alternative in females (i.e. facultative female polygamy), whereas a stricter mating system (e.g., ‘obligatory’ polyandry) should only result in sperm monomorphism irrespective of the absolute value of sperm length.