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Variation in fertilisation abilities between hemiclonal hybrid and sexual parental males of sympatric water frogs (Rana lessonae, R. esculenta, R. ridibunda)


Reyer, H U; Niederer, B; Hettyey, A (2003). Variation in fertilisation abilities between hemiclonal hybrid and sexual parental males of sympatric water frogs (Rana lessonae, R. esculenta, R. ridibunda). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 54(3):274-284.

Abstract

In many species, males and females mate with multiple partners, which gives rise to sperm competition and multiple paternity. The experiments on water frogs presented here demonstrate that such sperm competition can affect the structure and dynamics of mixed species communities. The hybrid frog Rana esculenta (LR) mates with one of its parental species, usually Rana lessonae (LL) although in some areas R. ridibunda (RR), to regain the premeiotically eliminated parental genome ("hybridogenesis"). Mixed LL/LR-populations are stable although hybrid numbers should continuously increase at the expense of parental animals, because of differences in female fecundity and other factors. This would finally lead to the extinction of the sexual host, followed by that of the sexual parasite, unless the reproductive superiority of R. esculenta is reduced by other factors, such as lower hybrid male fertility. Eggs from LL- and LR-females were fertilised in vitro by single- and multi-male sperm suspensions of LL-, LR- and RR-males. In all experiments, the proportion of offspring sired by R. esculenta sperm was significantly lower than that sired by R. lessonae or R. ridibunda sperm. Gonad mass, sperm morphology, sperm swimming velocity, and sperm survival did not explain these differences in fertilisation success, nor did gamete recognition and compatibility. Sperm density was the only trait that paralleled fertilisation success; but it offers no explanation either, because densities were equalised for the in vitro fertilisations. In natural LL/LR populations, the significantly smaller amount, poorer competitive ability and lower long-term survival of R. esculenta compared to R. lessonae sperm will reduce the initial reproductive superiority of hybrids and contribute to the stabilisation of mixed water frog populations. Differences in fertilisation ability are also likely to be relevant for the structure and dynamics of several other systems with encounters between eggs and sperm from different genotypes, ecotypes, ploidy levels and/or species.

In many species, males and females mate with multiple partners, which gives rise to sperm competition and multiple paternity. The experiments on water frogs presented here demonstrate that such sperm competition can affect the structure and dynamics of mixed species communities. The hybrid frog Rana esculenta (LR) mates with one of its parental species, usually Rana lessonae (LL) although in some areas R. ridibunda (RR), to regain the premeiotically eliminated parental genome ("hybridogenesis"). Mixed LL/LR-populations are stable although hybrid numbers should continuously increase at the expense of parental animals, because of differences in female fecundity and other factors. This would finally lead to the extinction of the sexual host, followed by that of the sexual parasite, unless the reproductive superiority of R. esculenta is reduced by other factors, such as lower hybrid male fertility. Eggs from LL- and LR-females were fertilised in vitro by single- and multi-male sperm suspensions of LL-, LR- and RR-males. In all experiments, the proportion of offspring sired by R. esculenta sperm was significantly lower than that sired by R. lessonae or R. ridibunda sperm. Gonad mass, sperm morphology, sperm swimming velocity, and sperm survival did not explain these differences in fertilisation success, nor did gamete recognition and compatibility. Sperm density was the only trait that paralleled fertilisation success; but it offers no explanation either, because densities were equalised for the in vitro fertilisations. In natural LL/LR populations, the significantly smaller amount, poorer competitive ability and lower long-term survival of R. esculenta compared to R. lessonae sperm will reduce the initial reproductive superiority of hybrids and contribute to the stabilisation of mixed water frog populations. Differences in fertilisation ability are also likely to be relevant for the structure and dynamics of several other systems with encounters between eggs and sperm from different genotypes, ecotypes, ploidy levels and/or species.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2003
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:15
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:14
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0340-5443
Publisher DOI:10.1007/s00265-003-0635-y
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-497

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