Sperm competition as a mechanism of female choice in the field cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus
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- Simmons, L.W. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (1987) 21: 197. doi:10.1007/BF00303211
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While traditionally viewed as an extension of intermale competition, mechanisms of sperm competition may be used by multiply mating females for mate choice. In the field cricket G. bimaculatus sperm were shown to mix in the spermatheca. The proportion of offspring sired by the second male increased with spermatophore attachment duration and, therefore, the number of sperm transferred. There was no second male advantage for single matings after an initial double mating. However, the proportion ofoffspring sired by the second male increased in proportion to the number of times he mated such that second males mating three times after an initial double mating had the advantage at fertilization. The data suggested that sperm were utilized in proportion to their numerical representation in the spermatheca. The mechanism of sperm precedence may, therefore, be one of sperm dilution. Female G. bimaculatus may control the degree of sperm competition as a mechanism of mate choice. By accepting large quantities of sperm from chosen males they may determine the paternity of their offspring by diluting out the sperm stored from previous matings.