Data from: Male body size and condition affects sperm number and production rates in mosquitofish, Gambusia holbrooki
Cite this dataset
O'Dea, Rose E.; Jennions, Michael D.; Head, Megan L. (2014). Data from: Male body size and condition affects sperm number and production rates in mosquitofish, Gambusia holbrooki [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.sf651
Sperm number is an important predictor of paternity when there is sperm competition. Sperm number is often measured as maximum sperm reserves, but in species where mating is frequent, males will often be replenishing their reserves. Thus, variation in how quickly males can produce sperm is likely to be important in determining male success in sperm competition. Despite this, little is known about how male size, body condition or diet affects sperm production rates. We counted sperm number in large and small Gambusia holbrooki (eastern mosquitofish) after 3 weeks on either a high or low food diet. Sperm number was significantly higher in both larger males and in well-fed males. We then stripped ejaculates again either 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 days later to investigate subsequent sperm production. The rate of sperm replenishment was influenced by an interaction between size and diet. Large, well-fed males had consistently high levels of sperm available over the 5 days (i.e. rapid replenishment), whereas small poorly fed males showed consistently low levels of sperm availability over the 5 days (i.e. slow replenishment). In contrast, large, poorly fed and small, well-fed males increased their sperm numbers over the first 3 days (i.e. intermediate replenishment). Our study highlights that when mating is frequent and sperm competition is high, size and condition dependence of maximal sperm number and of sperm production rate might both contribute to variation in male reproductive success.