Fecundity and MHC affects ejaculation tactics and paternity bias in sand lizards

Mats Olsson, Thomas Madsen, Beata Ujvari, Erik Wapstra

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    44 Citations (Scopus)


    We demonstrate that extending copulation enhances probability of paternity in sand lizards and that determinants of copulation duration depend on a males' mating order (first or second). First males, with no information on presence of rivals, extend copulation when mating with a more fecund female. Second males, however, adjust copula duration in relation to a first male's relatedness with his female, which there is reason to believe can be deduced from the MHC-related odor of the copulatory plug. Male-female relatedness negatively influences a male's probability of paternity, and when second males are in a favored role (i.e., the first male is the one more closely related to the female), second males transfer larger ejaculates, resulting in higher probability of paternity. This result corroborates predictions from recent theoretical models on sperm expenditure theory incorporating cryptic female choice and sexual conflict. More specifically, the results conform to a "random roles" model, which depicts males as being favored by some females and disfavored by others, but not to a "constant-type" model, in which a male is either favored or disfavored uniformly by all females in a population.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)906-909
    Number of pages4
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


    • Fecundity
    • Lizards
    • Major histocompatibility complex
    • Paternity bias
    • Sperm competition


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