Inter-population variation in multiple paternity and reproductive skew in the guppy

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Molecular Ecology





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guppy, landscape genetics, microsatellite, multiple paternity, reproductive skew, sperm competition


We use microsatellite loci to detail the multiple paternity patterns in broods from 10 wild populations of the guppy (Poecilia reticulata) found in Northern Trinidad. The populations span two major drainages comprising the Caroni and the Oropouche, and include sites that are characterized by either high or low predation. Across the populations the frequency of multiple paternity is high with 95% (range: 70%-100%) of broods having multiple sires. Broods have an average of 3.5 sires (range: 1-9) and a mixed-model analysis suggests that broods from high predation sites have marginally more sires than do those from low predation sites, but this is true only in the Oropouche drainage. There is no difference in sire number between predation sites in the Caroni drainage. Brood size, but not female body length, is correlated with the number of sires and the correlation cannot be attributed solely to the stochastic process associated with sperm competition and a 'fair raffle'. Within broods there is significant skew in reproductive success among males, which may reflect variation in sperm competitiveness or female choice. There is, however, no difference in the skew among populations from different predation regimes or drainages. Finally, high predation populations were characterized by increased genetic variability at the microsatellite loci, suggesting a larger effective population size. We discuss explanations for the high degree of multiple paternity but the general lack of any major differences among broods from ecologically different populations.