Is Sperm Cheap? Limited Male Fertility and Female Choice in the Lemon Tetra (Pisces, Characidae)

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Science  14 May 1982:
Vol. 216, Issue 4547, pp. 753-755
DOI: 10.1126/science.216.4547.753


In the laboratory, fertilization rates achieved by male lemon tetras decline with spawning frequency. Even when the number of females is not limited, males can produce only four times as many offspring as females. Females show a preference for males that have not recently spawned as opposed to those that have. The cost of producing sufficient sperm to maximize fertilization rates may therefore reduce the intensity of sexual selection in this polygamous fish species.