Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 301–309

Variation in sperm morphometry and sperm competition among barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) populations

Authors

    • Natural History MuseumUniversity of Oslo
  • Tomas Albrecht
    • Institute of Vertebrate Biology, v.v.i.Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
    • Department of Zoology, Faculty of ScienceCharles University in Prague
  • Andrea Bonisoli-Alquati
    • Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of South Carolina
  • Jaroslav Cepak
    • Bird-ringing StationNational Museum
  • Florentino de Lope
    • Departamento de Anatomia, Biologia Celular y ZoologiaUniversidad de Extremadura
  • Ignacio G. Hermosell
    • Departamento de Anatomia, Biologia Celular y ZoologiaUniversidad de Extremadura
  • Lars Erik Johannessen
    • Natural History MuseumUniversity of Oslo
  • Oddmund Kleven
    • Natural History MuseumUniversity of Oslo
    • Norwegian Institute for Nature Research-NINA
  • Alfonso Marzal
    • Departamento de Anatomia, Biologia Celular y ZoologiaUniversidad de Extremadura
  • Timothy A. Mousseau
    • Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of South Carolina
  • Anders P. Møller
    • Laboratoire d’EcologieSystématique et Evolution
  • Raleigh J. Robertson
    • Department of BiologyQueen’s University
  • Geir Rudolfsen
    • Department for Environmental Radioactivity, Norwegian Radiation Protection AuthorityFram Center
  • Nicola Saino
    • Dipartimento di BiologiaUniversit’a degli Studi di Milano
  • Yoni Vortman
    • Department of Zoology, Faculty of Life SciencesTel-Aviv University
  • Jan T. Lifjeld
    • Natural History MuseumUniversity of Oslo
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00265-012-1450-0

Cite this article as:
Laskemoen, T., Albrecht, T., Bonisoli-Alquati, A. et al. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (2013) 67: 301. doi:10.1007/s00265-012-1450-0

Abstract

Spermatozoa vary greatly in size and shape among species across the animal kingdom. Postcopulatory sexual selection is thought to be the major evolutionary force driving this diversity. In contrast, less is known about how sperm size varies among populations of the same species. Here, we investigate geographic variation in sperm size in barn swallows Hirundo rustica, a socially monogamous passerine with a wide Holarctic breeding distribution. We included samples from seven populations and three subspecies: five populations of ssp. rustica in Europe (Czech, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Ukraine), one population of ssp. transitiva in Israel, and one population of ssp. erythrogaster in Canada. All sperm traits (head length, midpiece length, tail length, and total length) varied significantly among populations. The variation among the European rustica populations was much lower than the differences among subspecies, indicating that sperm traits reflect phylogenetic distance. We also performed a test of the relationship between the coefficient of between-male variation in total sperm length and extrapair paternity levels across different populations within a species. Recent studies have found a strong negative relationship between sperm size variation and extrapair paternity among species. Here, we show a similar negative relationship among six barn swallow populations, which suggests that the variance in male sperm length in a population is shaped by the strength of stabilizing postcopulatory sexual selection.

Keywords

Barn swallowExtrapair paternityHirundo rusticaSperm competitionSperm size

Supplementary material

265_2012_1450_MOESM1_ESM.doc (40 kb)
Table S1Overview of subspecies, sample size, sampling localities, and sampling years of barn swallow Hirundo rustica included in the analyses of among population variation in sperm morphometry (DOC 40 kb)
265_2012_1450_MOESM2_ESM.doc (56 kb)
Table S2Summary of the pairwise comparisons of estimated marginal means of sperm head length variation among populations from the GLMM. Diagonal: mean sperm head length by population. Above the diagonal: difference in sperm head of the focal variable relative to the value in the diagonal. Below the diagonal: probabilities for difference between the populations, Bonferroni-adjusted for multiple comparisons. Significant differences are indicated by bold numbers (DOC 55 kb)
265_2012_1450_MOESM3_ESM.doc (56 kb)
Table S3Summary of the pairwise comparisons of estimated marginal means of sperm midpiece length variation among populations from the GLMM. Diagonal: mean sperm midpiece length by population. Above the diagonal: difference in sperm midpiece of the focal variable relative to the value in the diagonal. Below the diagonal: probabilities for difference between the populations, Bonferroni-adjusted for multiple comparisons. Significant differences are indicated by bold numbers. (DOC 55 kb)
265_2012_1450_MOESM4_ESM.doc (56 kb)
Table S4Summary of the pairwise comparisons of estimated marginal means of sperm total length variation among populations from the GLMM. Diagonal: mean sperm total length by population. Above the diagonal: difference in sperm total length of the focal variable relative to the value in the diagonal. Below the diagonal: probabilities for difference between the populations, Bonferroni-adjusted for multiple comparisons. Significant differences are indicated by bold numbers (DOC 55 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012