Evol Ecol Res 6: 473-480 (2004)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Sib-mating does not lead to facultative sex ratio adjustment in the parasitoid wasp,

Nasonia vitripennis

David M. Shuker,1* Sarah E. Reece,1,2 Penelope R. Whitehorn1 and Stuart A. West1

1Institute of Cell, Animal and Population Biology, University of Edinburgh, Ashworth Laboratories, King’s Buildings, Edinburgh EH9 3JT and  2School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, UK

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: david.shuker@ed.ac.uk


Sex ratio theory predicts that in haplodiploid species, females should lay a relatively more female-biased offspring sex ratio when they mate with a sibling compared with when they mate with a non-relative. This is because in haplodiploids, inbreeding leads to females having greater relatedness to daughters relative to sons. This prediction has only been tested in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis, where no support for this prediction was found. However, a limitation of this previous work is that it was carried out with only two females laying eggs per patch. This is a problem, because in this case the predicted difference in the offspring sex ratio is small and therefore hard to detect. We addressed this problem by utilizing a situation in which larger sex ratio differences are predicted – five females laying eggs per patch. Consistent with the previous results, we also found that the offspring sex ratio laid by a female was not influenced by whether she mated with a sibling or non-relative. Meta-analysis of all the experiments we have undertaken confirms this pattern. This failure to respond to the identity of a mating partner suggests females are unable to discriminate kin and is a relatively rare example of maladaptive sex allocation.

Keywords: kin discrimination, local mate competition, Nasonia vitripennis, sex allocation, sex ratio.

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