The seminal symphony: How to compose an ejaculate

Jennifer C. Perry, Laura Sirot, Stuart Wigby

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

197 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ejaculates are fundamental to fitness in sexually reproducing animals: males gain all their direct fitness via the ejaculate and females require ejaculates to reproduce. Both sperm and non-sperm components of the ejaculate (including parasperm, seminal proteins, water, and macromolecules) play vital roles in postcopulatory sexual selection and conflict, processes that can potentially drive rapid evolutionary change and reproductive isolation. Here, we assess the increasing evidence that considering ejaculate composition as a whole (and potential trade-offs among ejaculate components) has important consequences for predictions about male reproductive investment and female responses to ejaculates. We review current theory and empirical work, and detail how social and environmental effects on ejaculate composition have potentially far-reaching fitness consequences for both sexes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-422
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Volume28
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

Keywords

  • Condition
  • Ejaculate
  • Sexual coevolution
  • Sexual conflict
  • Sexual selection
  • Sperm competition

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