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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)
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)
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)
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)
Interspecific variation in sperm size is enigmatic, but generally assumed to reflect species-specific trade-offs in selection pressures. Among passerine birds, sperm length varies sevenfold, and sperm competition risk seems to drive the evolution of longer sperm. However, little is known about factors favouring short sperm or constraining the evolution of(More)
Extra-pair paternity is common in birds and much research has focussed on the selective advantage of extra-pair matings for both sexes. In contrast, little attention has been given to the fact that in most species the majority of offspring are sired by the social male. We investigated whether extra-pair matings of female bluethroats (Luscinia svecica) are(More)
Background: One of the biggest challenges in avian taxonomy is the delimitation of allopatric species because their reproductive incompatibility cannot be directly studied in the wild. Instead, reproductive incompatibility has to be inferred from multiple, divergent character sets that indicate a low likelihood of allopatric populations amalgamating upon(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)
Sperm competition is widespread among animal taxa and considered a major force in sperm evolution. Recent comparative studies have indicated that sperm competition selects for high sperm production capacity and long and fast-swimming spermatozoa across species. Here, we examine the role of sperm quantity and quality for fertilization success of individual(More)