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Sperm morphology and sperm velocity in passerine birds


Lüpold, Stefan; Calhim, S; Immler, S; Birkhead, T R (2009). Sperm morphology and sperm velocity in passerine birds. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 276(1659):1175-1181.

Abstract

Sperm velocity is one of the main determinants of the outcome of sperm competition. Since sperm vary considerably in their morphology between and within species, it seems likely that sperm morphology is associated with sperm velocity. Theory predicts that sperm velocity may be increased by enlarged midpiece (energetic component) or flagellum length (kinetic component), or by particular ratios between sperm components, such as between flagellum length and head size. However, such associations have rarely been found in empirical studies. In a comparative framework in passerine birds, we tested these theoretical predictions both across a wide range of species and within a single family, the New World blackbirds (Icteridae). In both study groups, sperm velocity was influenced by sperm morphology in the predicted direction. Consistent with theoretical models, these results show that selection on sperm morphology and velocity are likely to be concomitant evolutionary forces.

Abstract

Sperm velocity is one of the main determinants of the outcome of sperm competition. Since sperm vary considerably in their morphology between and within species, it seems likely that sperm morphology is associated with sperm velocity. Theory predicts that sperm velocity may be increased by enlarged midpiece (energetic component) or flagellum length (kinetic component), or by particular ratios between sperm components, such as between flagellum length and head size. However, such associations have rarely been found in empirical studies. In a comparative framework in passerine birds, we tested these theoretical predictions both across a wide range of species and within a single family, the New World blackbirds (Icteridae). In both study groups, sperm velocity was influenced by sperm morphology in the predicted direction. Consistent with theoretical models, these results show that selection on sperm morphology and velocity are likely to be concomitant evolutionary forces.

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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)
Uncontrolled Keywords:sperm competition; sperm motility; comparative study; New World blackbirds; Icteridae
Language:English
Date:22 March 2009
Deposited On:28 Oct 2015 13:32
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:27
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing
ISSN:0962-8452
Funders:Swiss National Science Foundation, Janggen-Poehn Foundation, Leverhulme Trust, Sheffield University ORS Award, NSF LTER Graduate Research Award, Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2008.1645

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