Sexual conflict over remating interval is modulated by the sex peptide pathway

Damian T. Smith, Naomi V. E. Clarke, James M. Boone, Claudia Fricke, Tracey Chapman

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16 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Sexual conflict, in which the evolutionary interests of males and females diverge, shapes the evolution of reproductive systems across diverse taxa. Here we used the fruit fly to study sexual conflict in natural, three-way interactions comprising a female, her current and previous mates. We manipulated the potential for sexual conflict by using sex peptide receptor (SPR) null females and by varying remating from 3 to 48h, a period during which natural rematings frequently occur. SPR-lacking females do not respond to sex peptide transferred during mating and maintain virgin levels of high receptivity and low fecundity. In the absence of SPR there was a convergence of fitness interests, with all individuals gaining highest productivity at 5h remating. This suggests that the expression of sexual conflict was reduced. We observed an unexpected second male-specific advantage to early remating, resulting from an increase in the efficiency of second male sperm use. This early window of opportunity for exploitation by second males depended on the presence of SPR. The results suggest that the sex peptide pathway can modulate the expression of sexual conflict in this system, and show how variation in the selective forces that shape conflict and co-operation can be maintained.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20162394
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B
Volume284
Early online date1 Mar 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2017

Keywords

  • Sexual conflict
  • sexual selection
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • sperm competition

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