, Volume 643, Issue 1, pp 71-75
Date: 27 Feb 2010

Longevity of Daphnia magna males and females

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In many species, males are shorter-lived than females, and, mostly anecdotally, shorter lifespan was also attributed to Daphnia males. This does not necessarily stay in accordance with the biological roles of the sexes in Daphnia. Daphnia females maximize their fitness by maximizing the number of produced offspring, which incurs costs associated with quick attainment of large body size: metabolic costs of fast growth and increased risk of predation. In contrast, Daphnia males maximize fitness by maximizing the number of fertilized females, and seem to follow the strategy that enables them to maximize the lifetime female encounter rate, which should increase with lengthening lifespan. As arguments exist both in favour and against males living longer than females, we tested for differences in physiological lifespan of Daphnia magna males and females. Although maximum observed lifespan was always equal or longer in males than in females, no statistically significant differences were found. The results indicate that Daphnia males should not be considered short-lived anymore.