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Sperm release and use at fertilization by yellow dung fly females (Scathophaga stercoraria)


Sbilordo, Sonja H; Schäfer, Martin A; Ward, Paul I (2009). Sperm release and use at fertilization by yellow dung fly females (Scathophaga stercoraria). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 98(3):511-518.

Abstract

Females of many species mate multiple times and store transferred sperm in storage organs. The mechanisms underlying sperm release from the stores at fertilization remain poorly understood, although they are central to an understanding of the female influence on post-copulatory male competition. Using double-mated females of the yellow dung fly, we counted the sperm sticking to the surface of deposited eggs of two successive clutches to obtain insight into the physiological processes associated with fertilization. The number of sperm released to fertilize an egg decreased between the first and second clutches, as well as within clutches from early to late eggs. These results indicate that: (1) sperm are lost from the stores over time independent of egg laying and (2) the number of sperm released depends on the amount of sperm stored. The lower number of sperm on eggs of the second clutches was accompanied by a strong increase of the proportion of sperm adhering to the micropyle region, suggesting that sperm use is more efficient and sperm release better controlled when sperm supply is substantially reduced. Finally, our approach indicates that sperm storage capacity of the female is higher than assumed from counts of spermathecal sperm.

Abstract

Females of many species mate multiple times and store transferred sperm in storage organs. The mechanisms underlying sperm release from the stores at fertilization remain poorly understood, although they are central to an understanding of the female influence on post-copulatory male competition. Using double-mated females of the yellow dung fly, we counted the sperm sticking to the surface of deposited eggs of two successive clutches to obtain insight into the physiological processes associated with fertilization. The number of sperm released to fertilize an egg decreased between the first and second clutches, as well as within clutches from early to late eggs. These results indicate that: (1) sperm are lost from the stores over time independent of egg laying and (2) the number of sperm released depends on the amount of sperm stored. The lower number of sperm on eggs of the second clutches was accompanied by a strong increase of the proportion of sperm adhering to the micropyle region, suggesting that sperm use is more efficient and sperm release better controlled when sperm supply is substantially reduced. Finally, our approach indicates that sperm storage capacity of the female is higher than assumed from counts of spermathecal sperm.

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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:27 October 2009
Deposited On:17 Dec 2009 14:06
Last Modified:06 Dec 2017 22:03
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0024-4066
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8312.2009.01296.x

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