Sex-specific differences in animal behavior commonly reflect unique reproductive interests. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, hermaphrodites can reproduce without a mate and thus prioritize feeding to satisfy the high energetic costs of reproduction. However, males, which must mate to reproduce, sacrifice feeding to prioritize mate-searching behavior. Here, we demonstrate that these behavioral differences influence sexual dimorphism at the organelle level; young males raised on a rich food source show constitutive induction of gut tubular lysosomes, a non-canonical lysosome morphology that forms in the gut of hermaphrodites when food is limited or as animals age. We found that constitutive induction of gut tubular lysosomes in males results from self-imposed dietary restriction through DAF-7/TGFβ, which promotes exploratory behavior. In contrast, age-dependent induction of gut tubular lysosomes in hermaphrodites is stimulated by self-fertilization activity. Thus, separate reproductive tradeoffs influence tubular lysosome induction in each sex, potentially supporting different requirements for reproductive success.

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