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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT Copulation was observed in 18 of 25 mating pairs of Sicyonia dorsalis whose activities were recorded with a time-lapse video system, and mating behavior was described. Male success in inseminating females was determined by examination of female seminal receptacles foi the presence of sperm. A male must copulate at least once from each side of the female in order to fill both seminal receptacles, but multiple copulations by the male on each side of the female were often observed. However, in several pairs, one of the two female receptacles remained empty in spite of often repeated copulations by the male on the unfilled side. In three pairs, the male copulated several times only on one side of the female, filling only the receptacle of that side. All females collected from the field which had mated previously had sperm in both seminal receptacles. One interpretation of these results is that in nature at least some females may mate with and be inseminated by more than one male. Multiple paternity might increase the genetic diversity of a female's spawns, which may enhance survival of dispersed planktonic larvae that settle in a mosaic or heterogeneous benthic environment.

Affiliations: 1: Center for Crustacean Research, University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette, Louisiana 70504-2451.


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