In this study, we investigated two potentially important intersexual postcopulatory gametic interactions in a population of chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha): (i) the effect of female ovarian fluid (OF) on the behaviour of spermatozoa during fertilization and (ii) the effects of multilocus heterozygosity (MLH) (as an index of male quality) and female–male genetic relatedness on sperm behaviour and male fertilization success when there is sperm competition in the presence of that OF. To do this, we conducted a series of in vitro competitive fertilization experiments and found that, when ejaculates from two males are competing for access to a single female's unfertilized eggs, fertilization success was significantly biased towards the male whose sperm swam fastest in the female's OF. Embryo survival—a measure of fitness—was also positively correlated with both sperm swimming speed in OF and male MLH, providing novel evidence that cryptic female choice is adaptive for the female, enhancing the early survival of her offspring and potentially influencing her fitness.
- Received January 1, 2016.
- Accepted February 24, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
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