, Volume 135, Issue 3, pp 289–298 | Cite as

Life history trade-offs and response to selection on egg size in the polychaete worm Hydroides elegans



In order to examine the genetic relationships among life-history traits in a hermaphroditic species we used artificial selection for increased egg size and measured correlated responses across the life cycle of the serpulid polychaete Hydroides elegans, a protandrous sequential hermaphrodite. We recorded sex ratios across generations, and measured egg size, egg energy, larval volume at two time points, juvenile tube length, adult dry weight and fecundity after selection. Selection for larger eggs produced positive correlated responses in egg energy, fecundity and larval size at competence. Selection for increased egg size was also manifested by earlier sex change and this resulted in selected individuals spending less time as males relative to controls. We propose that egg size is negatively correlated with duration of andromorphy, that is, that female fitness trades off with male fitness.


Artificial selection Correlated response Life-history evolution Hermaphrodite Trade-off 



Phenotypic standard deviation


Filtered seawater



We thank the generous faculty, staff, and students at Kewalo Marine Laboratory in Honolulu, HI, especially M.G. Hadfield, Director. S. Kelly measured many egg images and J. Scott provided technical assistance with larval video. We also thank two anonymous reviewers and K. Mendoza for constructive suggestions that improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and EvolutionUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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