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BACKGROUND The rate of extrapair paternity is a commonly used index for the risk of sperm competition in birds, but paternity data exist for only a few percent of the approximately 10400 extant species. As paternity analyses require extensive field sampling and costly lab work, species coverage in this field will probably not improve much in the foreseeable(More)
Spermatozoa are among the most diversified cells in the animal kingdom, but the underlying evolutionary forces affecting intraspecific variation in sperm morphology are poorly understood. It has been hypothesized that sperm competition is a potent selection pressure on sperm variation within species. Here, we examine intraspecific variation in total sperm(More)
Spermatozoa vary greatly in size and shape among species across the animal kingdom. Postcopulatory sexual selection is thought to be the major evolutionary force driving this diversity. In contrast, less is known about how sperm size varies among populations of the same species. Here, we investigate geographic variation in sperm size in barn swallows(More)
Sperm swimming speed is an important determinant of male fertility and sperm competitiveness. Despite its fundamental biological importance, the underlying evolutionary processes affecting this male reproductive trait are poorly understood. Using a comparative approach in a phylogenetic framework, we tested the predictions that sperm swim faster with (1)(More)
Spermatozoa exhibit considerable interspecific variability in size and shape. Our understanding of the adaptive significance of this diversity, however, remains limited. Determining how variation in sperm structure translates into variation in sperm performance will contribute to our understanding of the evolutionary diversification of sperm form. Here,(More)
A common challenge in phylogenetic reconstruction is to find enough suitable genomic markers to reliably trace splitting events with short internodes. Here, we present phylogenetic analyses based on genomewide single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of an enigmatic avian radiation, the subspecies complex of Afrocanarian blue tits (Cyanistes teneriffae). The(More)
Mitochondrial DNA usually shows low sequence variation within and high sequence divergence among species, which makes it a useful marker for phylogenetic inference and DNA barcoding. A previous study on the common redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) revealed two very different mtDNA haplogroups (5% K2P distance). This divergence is comparable to that among(More)
It is well documented that sperm size and structure varies considerably among avian species, but we know much less about the extent of intraspecific variation in sperm morphometry and its possible co-variation with somatic traits like body size and condition. Here, we investigate patterns of sperm length variation and co-variation in a population of House(More)
There is growing evidence that post-copulatory sexual selection, mediated by sperm competition, influences the evolution of sperm phenotypes. Evidence for pre-copulatory sexual selection effects on sperm traits, on the other hand, is rather scarce. A recent paper on the pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca, reported phenotypic associations between sperm(More)
Spermatozoa are among the most variable animal cell types, and much research is currently directed towards explaining inter- and intraspecific variation in sperm form and function. Recent comparative studies in passerine birds have found associations between the level of sperm competition and both sperm length and sperm velocity. In species with sperm(More)