, Volume 147, Issue 6, pp 1387-1392

Comparative mating success of smaller male-phase and larger male-role euhermaphrodite-phase shrimp, Lysmata wurdemanni (Caridea: Hippolytidae)

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The protandric simultaneous hermaphrodite shrimp Lysmata wurdemanni (Gibbes 1850) has a pure searching mating system, i.e., males are continually searching for receptive females and copulation is brief. To examine whether size-based advantage in male–male competition occurs and whether the mating ability of male-phase (M) shrimp equals that of euhermaphrodite-phase shrimp serving as males (Em), mating performance, including mating frequency and precopulatory behavior, of M and Em shrimp was compared using two M:Em ratios. Two experiments were carried out from March 2004 to August 2004 at Florida Institute of Technology’s Vero Beach Marine Laboratory using laboratory-cultured shrimp that originated from Port Aransas, TX, USA. In the two experiments, one parturial euhermaphrodite-phase shrimp acting as a female (Ef) was maintained with one M and two Em shrimp (one with and one without an egg mass), and two M and two Em shrimp, respectively. The M shrimp used were always smaller than the Em shrimp. Experiment 1 showed that there was no significant difference in mating ability between Em with and without egg mass. In both experiments, the M shrimp gained mating partners more frequently than the Em shrimp did. In the experiment with two M and two Em shrimp, mating frequencies of the small M and large M shrimp were similar. Precopulatory behaviors of the M shrimp were more active than those of the Em shrimp. Mating between the small M and larger Ef shrimp was sometimes successful even when the size difference was 20.0 mm total length (TL). Mating between a larger M shrimp and smaller Ef shrimp sometimes failed when the size difference was only 13.0 mm TL. Mating frequency of M shrimp over that of Em shrimp with Ef shrimp increased significantly with increasing density and operational sex ratio. The advantage of M over Em shrimp in obtaining mating partners is probably a result of sexual selection and adaptation, and may partially explain the observed delayed sex change in some L. wurdemanni, i.e., some male-phase shrimp grow very large and never become hermaphrodites.

Communicated by J.P. Grassle