Spermatophore characteristics in bushcrickets vary with parasitism and remating interval
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Male bushcrickets provide females with a nuptial gift, a spermatophore, which is transferred to females at mating. The spermatophore consists of a gelatinous mass, the spermatophylax, and the sperm-containing ampulla. Male spermatophore size is positively correlated with insemination rate and female refractory period and therefore with male reproductive success. In this study, we examined spermatophylax weight, ampulla weight and sperm number in males of Poecilimon mariannae parasitized by the acoustically orienting fly Therobia leonidei. We show that in parasitized males, spermatophylax weight decreases with the level of parasitism. In line with the hypothesis that parasitism is a cost to reproduction, we found that spermatophylax weight was reduced at remating. In contrast, the replenishment of the spermatophylax in unparasitized males was complete after 2 days and was increased no further after 3 days. Both sperm number and ampulla weight showed an increase over time since last mating and sperm production was estimated at a constant rate of 500,000 per day in all individuals, regardless of parasitism. The allocation of investment in components of the spermatophore varies greatly with parasitism and remating. Both factors had rather independent effects on spermatophore constitution, revealing functional constraints acting on spermatophore characteristics in bushcrickets, which are important for understanding the selection pressures working on its components.
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