Sperm survival in female stalk-eyed flies depends on seminal fluid and meiotic drive

Fry, CLW, G. S.,  Evolution,  58:1622-1626. 2004.

Sperm competition is common in many insect species; however, the mechanisms underlying differences in sperm precedence are not well understood. In the stalk-eyed fly, Cyrtodiopsis whitei (Diptera, Diopsidae), sperm precedence is influenced by the presence of sex chromosome meiotic drive. When drive-carrying males compete with non-driving males for fertilizations within a female, the number of progeny sired by drive males is significantly fewer than predicted by sperm mixing alone. Thus, drive males apparently suffer not only a reduction in the number of viable sperm produced, but also a reduction in sperm competitive ability. In this study, we manipulated the amount and source of seminal fluid and sperm received by females by interrupting copulations before sperm, but after seminal fluid, was transferred. We find that seminal fluid from another male influences the number of progeny sired by a drive-carrying male when both males mate with the same female. Sperm viability staining reveals that sperm from drive males are incapacitated by seminal fluid from other males within the female reproductive tract. These results suggest that multiple mating by females enables seminal fluid products to interact differentially with sperm and may reduce the transmission advantage of the drive chromosome.