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Resources subtracted from the female function are not directly allocated to sperm production, but to expensive male behaviors that are likely to enhance male reproductive success.These results are discussed in the light of the relevance of sexual selection in large populations of hermaphrodites.
Individuals regulate their reproductive output so that where reproductive competitors are present, the number of female gametes is strongly reduced but the number of male gametes (although it changes) is not significantly increased.The LMC will diminish, additional sperm released by a male will be less likely to compete with sperm from related males and thus parental allocation to the number of sons can increase until it approaches a sex ratio of 0.5 (Hamilton 1967).Therefore, according to sex allocation and LMC theory, both gonochoric and hermaphroditic organisms should be able to adjust their sex allocation budget to the social conditions encountered.According to LMC theory, in separate sex organisms, when populations are structured in such a way that mating group sizes are small and related males compete for fertilization, females are expected to bias the sex ratio of their offspring towards daughters (that is, the sex which suffers less competition) and produce the minimum number of sons which can ensure fertilization of all their daughters.As the number of females in a patch increases, their progeny will mix.Although these findings confirm that hermaphrodites adjust their sex allocation flexibly in relation to population size, the direction and the amount of the adjustment follow different patterns in the different species studied.
Trade-off patterns may be obscured by unknown aspects of each organism's biology.Many hermaphroditic species have a protandrous male phase that must be taken into consideration over a lifespan energy budget of sex allocation.Analyzing such constraints and the crucial aspects of an organism's biology as well as including them in the context of sex allocation theory remains a major challenge.Sex allocation theory predicts that, in hermaphroditic organisms, individuals allocate a fixed amount of resources divided among male and female functions to reproduction and that the proportion devoted to each sex depends on the mating group size.As the mating group size increases, hermaphrodites are predicted to allocate proportionally more resources to the male and less resources to the female function (approaching equal allocation to both sexes) to face increased sperm competition.While in several separate sex animals there is evidence in favor of this hypothesis (see review by Hardy 2002), little experimental evidence has been provided in hermaphroditic animals.