Data from: Male investments in high quality sperm improve fertilization success, but may have negative impact on offspring fitness in whitefish
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CitationKekäläinen, Jukka (University of Western Australia). Soler, Carles (University of Valencia). Veentaus, Sami (University of Eastern Finland). Huuskonen, Hannu (University of Eastern Finland). , Data from: Male investments in high quality sperm improve fertilization success, but may have negative impact on offspring fitness in whitefish, 2016, doi:10.5061/dryad.7gf83.
Many ejaculate traits show remarkable variation in relation to male social status. Males in disfavoured (subordinate) mating positions often invest heavily on sperm motility but may have less available resources on traits (e.g., secondary sexual ornaments) that improve the probability of gaining matings. Although higher investments in sperm motility can increase the relative fertilization success of subordinate males, it is unclear whether status-dependent differences in sperm traits could have any consequences for offspring fitness. We tested this possibility in whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus L.) by experimentally fertilizing the eggs of 24 females with the sperm of either highly-ornamented (large breeding tubercles, dominant) or less-ornamented (small tubercles, subordinate) males (split-clutch breeding design). In comparison to highly-ornamented individuals, less-ornamented males had higher sperm motility, which fertilized the eggs more efficiently, but produced embryos with impaired hatching success. Also offspring size and body condition were lower among less-ornamented males. Furthermore, sperm motility was positively associated with the fertilization success and offspring size, but only in highly-ornamented males. Together our results indicate that male investments on highly motile (fertile) sperm is not necessarily advantageous during later offspring ontogeny and that male status-dependent differences in sperm phenotype may have important effects on offspring fitness in different life-history stages.