Evidence for biased use of sperm sources in wild female giant cuttlefish (Sepia apama). Academic Article uri icon


  • In species where females store sperm from their mates prior to fertilization, sperm competition is particularly probable. Female Sepia apama are polyandrous and have access to sperm from packages (spermatangia) deposited by males onto their buccal area during mating and to sperm stored in internal sperm-storage organs (receptacles) located below the beak. Here, we describe the structure of the sperm stores in the female's buccal area, use microsatellite DNA analyses to determine the genetic diversity of stored sperm and combine these data with offspring genotypes to determine the storage location of paternal sperm. The number of male genotypes represented in the sperm receptacles was significantly lower than that found among the spermatangia. Estimation of the volumes of sperm contained in the receptacles and the spermatangia were statistically comparable; however, paternal sperm were more likely to have come from spermatangia than from the sperm receptacles. These results confirm a genetic polyandrous mating system in this species and suggest that fertilization pattern with respect to the sperm stores used is not random.

publication date

  • May 22, 2005