Article: article from journal or magazin.
Lifetime reproductive output in a hermaphrodite cestode when reproducing alone or in pairs: a time cost of pairing
The cestode Schistocephalus solidus is a facultatively self-fertilising simultaneous hermaphrodite. Here we test for differences in the starting point, the rate, and the magnitude of egg production between individuals allowed to reproduce alone (only self-fertilisation possible) or in pairs (both self- and cross-fertilisation possible). Specifically, we want to distinguish between alternative processes responsible for the lower egg production in paired individuals observed in an earlier study (Wedekind et al., 1998). We designed an improved in vitro system, replacing the bird final host that allows us to measure, with high temporal resolution, the timing and magnitude of lifetime egg production of worms in these two social situations. We found that the experimental groups did not differ significantly in the starting point of egg production. However, the temporal pattern in egg production differed between them, in that paired individuals had a lower rate of egg production. This, however, did not lead to a significant reduction in lifetime egg production, as pairs compensated for the lower rate by producing eggs longer than single individuals. We argue that the lower rate of egg production may nevertheless lead to a time cost of pairing in the study species, and that this cost is likely to represent a cost of outcrossing due to sexual selection.
co-operation, cross-fertilisation, gamete trading, self-fertilisation, sex allocation, simultaneous hermaphroditism
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