Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sperm trading can resolve hermaphrodite mating conflicts

11.10.2005


By directly manipulating mating performance in a tropical sea slug, Chelidonura hirundinina, researchers of the University of Tübingen have now shed light on the bizarre reproductive conflicts encountered by hermaphroditic animals. In some hermaphroditic species, such as C. hirundinina, mating partners may insist on copulating as a "male," "female," or both, resulting in unique biological conflicts over gender.


Credit: Anthes et al./Current Biology



Sexual interactions in so-called cross-fertilizing simultaneous hermaphrodites, such as earthworms, snails, leeches, and some fishes, have long challenged researchers’ understanding of how established theories regarding sexual selection apply in cases of hermaphroditic species. For example, combining male and female gender in one and the same individual, hermaphrodites have been predicted to frequently be at conflict (theoretically speaking) about which sexual roles to play, because matings are often more costly, in terms of evolutionary fitness, to one gender than to the other. In such cases, hermaphrodites are predicted to share a preference to copulate in the more beneficial gender role. This would appear to make the interests of any two potential mates incompatible. For 20 years, evolutionary biologists have speculated that hermaphrodites may solve such mating conflicts by "trading sperm," that is, giving sperm only when the mating partner follows suit. However, this prediction had never been proven experimentally.

In the new work, researchers Nils Anthes, Annika Putz, and Nico Michiels generated individual sea slug hermaphrodites only capable of performing a "dry" copulation--that is, without sperm transfer. Sea slugs that mated with such a "cheating" partner interrupted sexual intercourse significantly sooner than did control pairs. This supports the concept of sperm trading, where mates negotiate mating roles in order to balance sexual interactions.

Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.current-biology.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>