Influence of female reproductive anatomy on the outcome of sperm competition in Drosophila melanogaster

J. Bangham, T. Chapman, H. K. Smith, L. Partridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Females as well as males can influence the outcome of sperm competition, and may do so through the anatomy of their reproductive tracts. Female Drosophila melanogaster store sperm in two morphologically distinct organs: a single seminal receptacle and, normally, two spermathecae. These organs have different temporal roles in sperm storage. To examine the association between sperm storage organ morphology and sperm competition, we used a mutant type of female with three spermathecae. Although the common measure of sperm competition, P2, did not differ between females with two and three spermathecae, the pattern of sperm use over time indicated that female morphology did affect male reproductive success. The rate of offspring production by females with three spermathecae rose and fell more rapidly than by females with two spermathecae. If females remate or die before using up second male sperm, then second male reproductive success will be higher when they mate with females with three spermathecae. The results indicate that temporal patterns of sperm use as well as P2 should be taken into account when measuring the outcome of sperm competition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-530
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1514
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2003

Cite this