Males with high genetic similarity to females sire more offspring in sperm competition in Peron's tree frog Litoria peronii.
Sherman CD., Wapstra E., Uller T., Olsson M.
Recent work has confirmed that genetic compatibility among mates can be an important determinant of siring success in sperm competition experiments and in free-ranging populations. Most of this work points towards mate choice of less related mates. However, there may also be the potential for mate choice for intermediate or even genetically similar mates to prevent outbreeding depression or hybridization with closely related taxa. We studied relatedness effects on post-copulatory gametic choice and/or sperm competition in an external fertilizer, Peron's tree frog (Litoria peronii), since external fertilizers offer exceptional control in order to test gametic interaction effects on probability of paternity and zygote viability. Sperm competition experiments were done blindly with respect to genetic relatedness among males and females. Thereafter, paternity of offspring was assigned using eight microsatellite loci. Three hybridization trials between L. peronii and a closely related sympatric species Litoria tyleri were also carried out. In the sperm competition trials, males that are more genetically similar to the female achieved higher siring success compared with less genetically similar males. The hybridization trials confirmed that the two species can interbreed and we suggest that the risk of hybridization may contribute to selection benefits for genetically more similar males at fertilization. To our knowledge, this study is the first to show evidence for post-copulatory selection of sperm from genetically more similar individuals within a natural population.