Sperm competition and sperm length in shorebirds

D D P Johnson, J V Briskie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We investigated how sperm morphology varies across 16 species of shorebirds in the Scolopacidae, Charadriidae, and Jacanidae. Sperm were significantly longer in nonmonogamous than in socially monogamous species. Nonmonogamous species also had significantly longer midpieces and tails than monogamous species. As the midpiece houses the mitochondria for powering the tail, this suggests that sperm competition may select for greater investment in mobility. After controlling for phylogeny and male body mass, sperm tail length was correlated positively to relative testis size. There was no evidence that variation in sperm morphology was related to either male body mass (through allometry) or egg size (via linkage disequilibrium). Instead, our results suggest that sperm size in shorebirds increases with the intensity of sperm competition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)848-854
Number of pages7
JournalThe Condor
Volume101
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1999

Keywords

  • Charadrii
  • mating systems
  • sperm competition
  • sperm morphology
  • TESTIS SIZE
  • MATING-BEHAVIOR
  • MAMMALIAN SPERM
  • PARENTAL CARE
  • BIRDS
  • EVOLUTION
  • PATERNITY
  • SANDPIPERS
  • FREQUENCY
  • LEKKING

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