Polyandry is widespread and influences patterns of sexual selection, with implications for sexual conflict over mating. Assessing sperm precedence patterns is a first step towards understanding sperm competition within a female and elucidating the roles of male- and female-controlled factors. In this study behavioural field data and genetic data were combined to investigate polyandry in the chokka squid Loligo reynaudii. Microsatellite DNA-based paternity analysis revealed multiple paternity to be the norm, with 79% of broods sired by at least two males. Genetic data also determined that the male who was guarding the female at the moment of sampling was a sire in 81% of the families tested, highlighting mate guarding as a successful male tactic with postcopulatory benefits linked to sperm deposition site giving privileged access to extruded egg strings. As females lay multiple eggs in capsules (egg strings) wherein their position is not altered during maturation it is possible to describe the spatial / temporal sequence of fertilisation / sperm precedence There were four different patterns of fertilisation found among the tested egg strings: 1) unique sire; 2) dominant sire, with one or more rare sires; 3) randomly mixed paternity (two or more sires); and 4) a distinct switch in paternity occurring along the egg string. The latter pattern cannot be explained by a random use of stored sperm, and suggests postcopulatory female sperm choice. Collectively the data indicate multiple levels of male- and female-controlled influences on sperm precedence, and highlights squid as interesting models to study the interplay between sexual and natural selection.
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- Multiple mating, paternity and complex fertilisation patterns in the Chokka Squid Loligo reynaudii
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