Protandric simultaneous hermaphroditism, as reported for shrimps in the genus Lysmata, is a sexual system in which individuals invariably reproduce as males first and later in life as simultaneous hermaphrodites. I tested three models (i.e., sex-dependent energetic costs, sex-dependent mortality rates and sex-dependent time commitments) in an attempt to explain the adaptive value of protandric simultaneous hermaphroditism in the shrimp L. wurdemanni. Specific assumptions and predictions of each model were evaluated using manipulative experiments. In the laboratory, males grew faster than simultaneous hermaphrodites of the same size and age, an indication that the female function incurs higher energetic costs of reproduction than the male function. Also, large SHPs were more successful in monopolizing food than small males. The sex-dependent growth rate and size-dependent resource holding power agree with predictions of the sex-dependent energetic cost model. The time that simultaneous hermaphrodites required for replenishing their sperm reservoirs after mating as males was much shorter (2 days) than the time required to brood one clutch of embryos (11 days). Also, small simultaneous hermaphrodites experienced heavier mortality due to predatory fishes than large ones. The sex-dependent reproductive time commitment and size-dependent mortality agree with predictions of the sex-dependent time commitment model. Conversely, I found no evidence that the sex-dependent mortality model explains protandric simultaneous hermaphroditism in the studied species. In contrast to model predictions, mortality due to predatory fishes suffered by simultaneous hermaphrodites was not greater than that suffered by males of the same body size. In L. wurdemanni, the relationship between sex-specific investment and reproductive success seems to change during ontogeny in a way that is consistent with an adaptive adjustment of sex allocation to improve age-specific reproductive success.
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Vol. 60 • No. 9