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By donating small sperm amounts, the partner is encouraged to reciprocate. Although this is the pattern expected for special cases such as sperm-dependent parthenogens (Michiels and Kuhl, 2003), its presence in outcrossing sexual species remains controversial.
Recent theoretical and empirical studies suggest that in most internal fertilizers, sperm trading serves male rather than female interests (Greeff and Michiels, 1999; Michiels et al., 2003).
When paired to a cheater, sham-treated control animals did not respond to the absence of sperm receipt, neither by desertion nor by shortening intromission.
We thus reject trading of insemination durations and sperm transfer in .
Nonselfing simultaneous hermaphrodites are prone to develop conflicts over gender roles during mating as a result of unequal costs to reproduce through male and female function (Charnov, 1979; Michiels, 1998).Sperm trading can be a mechanism to solve the conflict over sex roles in hermaphrodites with copulation, sperm competition, and sperm digestion.If present, sperm donation depends on sperm receipt, resulting in conditional reciprocal inseminations.Trading of male gametes (, mating partners alternate sperm donation repeatedly during a single mating encounter (Leonard and Lukowiak, 1984, 1985).The investigators suggested that sperm trading is driven by a preference for the female role.
To test trading of sperm transfer itself, we interrupted the sperm groove that transports sperm into the penis during copulation.