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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT On an average, males of Lernaeocera branchialis (L.) needed a shorter time to inseminate a group of females than males of Lepeophtheirus pectoralis (Müller). The higher insemination rate of L. branchialis may represent adaptations to the two-host life cycle of the female, and is also partly achieved because most males invest less in females inseminated after the first successful mating. Laboratory experiments also showed that males of L. branchialis did not increase their rate of spermatophore production in the presence of a possible competitor. The size of the first pair of spermatophores was not correlated with the size of the male in either copepod species, but a comparison between L. branchialis and L. pectoralis showed that males of the former species produced the largest spermatophores relative to their size. Females of L. branchialis did not benefit nutritionally from relatively large ejaculate volumes by increased survival in their second pelagic phase. However, production of relatively large ejaculate volumes may be beneficial to the male in that it may reduce the time needed to effectively inseminate a female. The relatively large spermatophores of males of L. branchialis may thus represent an indirect consequence of the female's two-host life cycle. In both copepod species most matings resulted in insemination of the female. In L. branchialis this success depends mainly on the virility of the male, whereas in L. pectoralis the placement of the spermatophores is more haphazard, and successful mating depends both on the virility of the male and the precision of the placement of the spermatophore pairs.


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