, Volume 94, Issue 7, pp 543–550 | Cite as

Sperm competition promotes diversity of sperm bundles in Ohomopterus ground beetles

  • Yasuoki Takami
  • Teiji Sota
Original Paper


Diversification of sperm morphology has been investigated in the context of sperm competition, but the adaptive significance of sperm bundles is still unclear. In analyzing 10 taxa of the genus Carabus subgenus Ohomopterus and one related Carabus ground beetles, we found that dimorphic sperm bundles occurred in most species with varied degrees of bimodality, whereas sperm were generally monomorphic. Comparative analyses with phylogenetically independent contrasts revealed that the sizes of large and small sperm bundles evolved more rapidly than, and were not correlated with, the length of sperm, suggesting more intense selection on sperm bundle sizes and their independent responses to different evolutionary forces. The size of large sperm bundles was positively correlated with male genital morphology (pertinent to displacement of rival spermatophores) and postcopulatory guarding duration as well as male body length, suggesting that larger sperm bundles have been favored when the risk of spermatophore displacement is high. Larger sperm bundles may be advantageous because of their ability to migrate more rapidly into the spermatheca. In contrast, no clear association was detected between the small sperm bundle size and mating traits despite its rapid diversification. The present study provides the first record of heteromorphic sperm bundles, the diversity of which may be promoted by sperm competition.


Genitalia Independent contrast Sexual selection Spermatodesm Sperm heteromorphism 



We thank P. Watson and three anonymous referees for their constructive suggestions. YT thanks F. Hayashi for his valuable suggestions and R. Ishikawa for his supervision. This work was supported by Sasakawa Scientific Research Grant from the Japan Science Society (1998–1999, nos. 10-239 and 11-225k), Research Fellowships for Young Scientists from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (1999–2000, no. 07249 and 2003–2005, no. 04747), and a grant-in-aid from JSPS (no. 15207004).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Zoology, Graduate School of ScienceKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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