Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mother Knows Best: Females Control Sperm Storage To Pick The Best Father

Date:
September 29, 2009
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
Scientists have found new evidence to explain how female insects can influence the father of their offspring, even after mating with up to ten males. A team has found that female crickets are able to control the amount of sperm that they store from each mate to select the best father for their young. The research suggests females may be using their abdominal muscles to control the amount of sperm stored from each mate.

Field cricket.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Exeter

Scientists have found new evidence to explain how female insects can influence the father of their offspring, even after mating with up to ten males. A team from the University of Exeter has found that female crickets are able to control the amount of sperm that they store from each mate to select the best father for their young.

Related Articles


The research team believes the females may be using their abdominal muscles to control the amount of sperm stored from each mate. Their findings are now published in the journal Molecular Ecology.

Female crickets mate with several different males, including their closest relatives. In general, offspring produced with close relatives are more likely to have genetic disorders. Different animals employ a range of behaviours to avoid this, such as not mating other animals from the group they grow up in. Crickets do not avoid mating with relatives, but this research shows that they produce more offspring fathered by males that are unrelated to them.

To conduct their study, the researchers bred field crickets in the laboratory. They used new DNA-based techniques to determine the quantity stored by each the female. They found that the females stored a higher content of sperm from unrelated males. They then tested young crickets to determine their paternity. The results showed that, regardless of the order in which they had mated, an unrelated mate was more likely to become a father. This must have been under female control, because the methods the team used meant that males could not influence the amount of sperm they passed to the female.

Though the study focused on field crickets, the findings are likely to be relevant in other insect species and possibly other sections of the animal kingdom. For example, chickens are known to store more sperm from dominant males.

Lead author Dr Amanda Bretman of the University of Exeter said: "Our study shows that even after mating, female insects control who fathers their offspring. We're only really just beginning to understand the reasons for the different mating strategies in the insect world and that is thanks to new techniques."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Mother Knows Best: Females Control Sperm Storage To Pick The Best Father." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090908124621.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2009, September 29). Mother Knows Best: Females Control Sperm Storage To Pick The Best Father. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090908124621.htm
University of Exeter. "Mother Knows Best: Females Control Sperm Storage To Pick The Best Father." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090908124621.htm (accessed March 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — A lioness in Pakistan has given birth to five cubs, twice the usual size of a litter. Queen gave birth to two other cubs just nine months ago. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — Using motion tracking technology, researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are trying to establish an optimum horse riding style to train junior jockeys, as well as enhance safety, health and well-being of both racehorses and jockeys. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bear Cubs Tumble for the Media

Bear Cubs Tumble for the Media

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — Two Andean bear cubs are unveiled at the U.S. National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Alicia Powell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

AFP (Mar. 25, 2015) — Experts are gathering in Botswana to try to end the illegal wildlife trade that is decimating populations of elephants, rhinos and other threatened species. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins