Evol Ecol Res 19: 695-706 (2018)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Post-copulatory male mate-guarding in a solitary parasitoid wasp impedes re-mating in the female

Deng Pan, Hui Pan, Min Zhang, Xiao-Li Ji, Jing Li, Cheng-Jie Zhu and Hao-Yuan Hu

Provincial Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Important Biological Resources in Anhui, College of Life Sciences, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu, Anhui, China

Correspondence: Hao-Yuan Hu, Provincial Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Important Biological Resources in Anhui, College of Life Sciences, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu, Anhui 241000, China. email: haoyuanhu@126.com


Background: If the sperm from two or more males fertilize the ova of a single female, sperm competition results. Among mostly solitary parasitoid wasps, females often lose receptivity after an initial mating.

Organism: Pachycrepoideus vindemmiae (Pteromalidae), a solitary parasitoid wasp. After copulation, P. vindemmiae males remain mounted on females for some time.

Questions: Does the post-copulatory behaviour of mate-guarding impede re-mating in females? If re-mating does occur, does it result in more female offspring or a higher proportion of females?

Methods: We removed males of copulating pairs at various times after copulation. We provided sufficient hosts to females who mated twice. We measured the number of offspring and the sex ratio during the period in which a female oviposited. We then analysed the effects of re-mating.

Results and conclusions: The post-copulatory mate-guarding ritual of P. vindemmiae males reduced female receptivity. No females were receptive after copulation when we allowed males to perform the entire ritual. The shorter the ritual allowed, the higher the frequency of females that permitted re-mating. Compared with once-mated females, twice-mated females had similar numbers of male and female offspring, as well as a similar proportion of males throughout female oviposition.

Keywords: mate-guarding, mate system, sex ratio, sperm competition.

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