Sexual selection gradients change over time in a simultaneous hermaphrodite

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Sexual selection is generally predicted to act more strongly on males than on females. The Darwin-Bateman paradigm predicts that this should also hold for hermaphrodites. However, measuring this strength of selection is less straightforward when both sexual functions are performed throughout the organism's lifetime. Besides, quantifications of sexual selection are usually done during a short time window, while many animals store sperm and are long-lived. To explore whether the chosen timeframe affects estimated measures of sexual selection, we recorded mating success and reproductive success over time, using a simultaneous hermaphrodite. Our results show that male sexual selection gradients are consistently positive. However, an individual's female mating success seems to negatively affect its own male reproductive success, an effect that only becomes visible several weeks into the experiment, highlighting that the timeframe is crucial for the quantification and interpretation of sexual selection measures, an insight that applies to any iteroparous mating system.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere25139
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2017


  • Journal Article


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