Evolutionary Biology

Evolution of sperm morphology in a crustacean genus with fertilization inside an open brood pouch

10.24072/pcjournal.182 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 2 (2022), article no. e63.

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Sperm is the most fundamental male reproductive feature. It serves the fertilization of eggs and evolves under sexual selection. Two components of sperm are of particular interest, their number and their morphology. Mode of fertilization is believed to be a key determinant of sperm length across the animal kingdom. External fertilization, unlike internal, favors small and numerous sperm, since sperm density is thinned out in the environment. Here, we study the evolution of sperm morphology in the genus Daphnia, where fertilization occurs in a receptacle, the brood pouch, where sperm can constantly be flushed out by a water current. Based on microscopic observations of sperm morphologies mapped on a phylogeny with 15 Daphnia and 2 outgroup species, we found that despite the internal fertilization mode, Daphnia have among the smallest sperm recorded, as would be expected with external fertilization. Despite being all relatively small compared to other arthropods, sperm length diverged at least twice, once within each of the Daphnia subgenera Ctenodaphnia and Daphnia. Furthermore, species in the latter subgenus also lost the ability of cell compaction by extracellular encapsulation and have very polymorphic sperm with long, and often numerous, filopodia. We discuss the different strategies that Daphnia evolved to achieve fertilization success in the females’ brood pouch.

Published online:
DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.182
Duneau, David 1, 2; Möst, Markus 3; Ebert, Dieter 2

1 Université Toulouse 3 Paul Sabatier, CNRS, IRD; UMR5174, EDB (Laboratoire Évolution & Diversité Biologique); Toulouse, France
2 University of Basel, Department of Environmental Sciences, Zoology, Vesalgasse 1, 4051 Basel, Switzerland
3 University of Innsbruck, Department of Ecology, Technikerstrasse 25, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
License: CC-BY 4.0
Copyrights: The authors retain unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights
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Duneau, David; Möst, Markus; Ebert, Dieter. Evolution of sperm morphology in a crustacean genus with fertilization inside an open brood pouch. Peer Community Journal, Volume 2 (2022), article  no. e63. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.182. https://peercommunityjournal.org/articles/10.24072/pcjournal.182/

Peer reviewed and recommended by PCI : 10.24072/pci.evolbiol.100145

Conflict of interest of the recommender and peer reviewers:
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

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