Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute


Jon Havenhand, Ph.D.
Tjärnö Marine Research Laboratory
Göteborg University, Sweden

Cross-dressing in cuttlefish: transient sexual mimicry leads to fertilization

Wednesday – May 16, 2007
Pacific Forum – 3:00 p.m.

 Sexual mimicry among animals is widespread, but does it impart a fertilization advantage in the widely accepted ‘sneak–guard’ model of sperm competition? Field studies reveal a dramatic facultative switch in sexual phenotype by sneaker-male cuttlefish that leads to immediate fertilization success, even in the presence of the consort male. These results are surprising, given the high rate at which females reject copulation attempts by males, the strong mate-guarding behavior of consort males, and the high level of sperm competition in this complex mating system.

Next: Mike DeGrandpre, Ph.D.