Seminal Fluid Affects Sperm Viability in a Cricket
Recent studies have suggested that males may vary the quality of their ejaculates in response to sperm competition, although the mechanisms by which they do so remain unclear. The viability of sperm is an important aspect of ejaculate quality that determines competitive fertilization success in the field cricket Teleogryllus oceanicus. Using in vitro mixtures of sperm and seminal fluid from pairs of male crickets, we show that seminal fluid can affect the viability of sperm in this species. We found that males who invest greatly in the viability of their own sperm can enhance the viability of rival sperm, providing the opportunity for males to exploit the investments in sperm competition made by their rivals. Transitive effects of seminal fluids across the ejaculates of different males are expected to have important implications for the dynamics of male investments in sperm competition.
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