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Data from: Quantifying episodes of sexual selection: insights from a transparent worm with fluorescent sperm

Citation

Marie-Orleach, Lucas et al. (2016), Data from: Quantifying episodes of sexual selection: insights from a transparent worm with fluorescent sperm, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.p093c

Abstract

Sexual selection operates through consecutive episodes of selection that ultimately contribute to the observed variance in reproductive success between individuals. Understanding the relative importance of these episodes is challenging, particularly because the relevant post-copulatory fitness components are often difficult to assess. Here we investigate different episodes of sexual selection on the male sex function, by assessing how (pre-copulatory) mating success, and (post-copulatory) sperm-transfer efficiency and sperm-fertilising efficiency contribute to male reproductive success. Specifically, we used a transgenic line of the transparent flatworm, Macrostomum lignano, which expresses green fluorescent protein (GFP) in all cell types, including sperm cells, enabling in vivo sperm tracking and paternity analysis. We found that a large proportion of variance in male reproductive success arose from the post-copulatory episodes. Moreover, we also quantified selection differentials on ten morphological traits. Testis size and seminal vesicle size showed significant positive selection differentials, which were mainly due to selection on sperm-transfer efficiency. Overall, our results demonstrate that male reproductive success in M. lignano is not primarily limited by the number of matings achieved, but rather by the ability to convert matings into successful fertilisations, which is facilitated by producing many sperm.

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Location

Basel