Low fertilization rates in a pelagic copepod caused by sexual selection?

Sara Ceballos, Mie Hylstofte Sichlau, Jan Heuschele, Thomas Kiørboe

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We studied female fertilization status in North Sea summer populations and laboratory cultures of the marine copepod Temora longicornis and found fractions of fertilized females in both field and laboratory populations that were much smaller (<50%) than predicted by a theoretical model that assumes random mating. Such low fertilization rates are normally related to environmental factors such as poor food or low densities, which we could not confirm in our experiment. Male density was negatively related to fertilization rate, and a large fraction of males did not mate in laboratory incubations. We therefore suggest that sexual selection, through mate choice or male–male competition could account for low fertilization rates of females in populations of pelagic copepods during some periods of the year
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Plankton Research
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)736-742
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • fertilization limitation
  • male–male competition
  • mate choice
  • mating rates
  • zooplankton


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