Male asymmetry and postcopulatory sexual selection in the fly Dryomyza anilis
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- Otronen, M. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (1998) 42: 185. doi:10.1007/s002650050430
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The significance of male asymmetry in postcopulatory sexual selection was studied in the fly Dryomyza anilis by examining whether male asymmetry is related to fertilization success. The traits measured were wing length, tibia length and the length of small and large claspers. The male claspers are situated at the tip of the abdomen, functional pair of claspers consists of a large and a small clasper on the same side of the body. These claspers are used to tap the female abdomen after sperm transfer, which has been shown to increase fertilization success for the mating male. Fertilization success was negatively related to the fluctuating asymmetry of wing length, suggesting either female preference for more symmetrical males or a relationship between male asymmetry and intrasexual selection which was reflected in mating performance. Fertilization success was also related to the length of small claspers, decreasing with increasing length of the claspers. In addition, males with asymmetrical small claspers enjoyed higher fertilization success than symmetrical ones. This study shows that fluctuating asymmetry in wing length is an important fitness trait in postcopulatory sexual selection. Since male tapping affects sperm distribution in the female's sperm storage organs, the higher fertilization success of males with asymmetrical small claspers could have a functional relationship with the asymmetrical position of female sperm storage organs.