Evol Ecol Res 12: 143-150 (2010)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

The effects of relatedness on offspring sex ratio in pollinating fig wasps

Hao-Yuan Hu1,2, Guang-Chang Ma2, Li-Ming Niu1,3, Yue-Guan Fu3, Zheng-Qiang Peng3 and Da-Wei Huang1,4

1Key Laboratory of Zoological Systematics and Evolution, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing,  2Key Laboratory of Biotic Environment and Ecological Safety in Anhui Province, College of Life Sciences, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu, Anhui, 3Key Laboratory of Monitoring and Control of Tropical Agricultural and Forest Invasive Alien Pests, Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Plant Protection Institute, Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences, Danzhou, Hainan and 4Plant Protection College, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai’an, Shandong, China

Correspondence: D.W. Huang, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datunlu, Chaoyang, Beijing 100101, People’s Republic of China.
e-mail: huangdw@ioz.ac.cn


Background: Sex ratio theory predicts a more female-biased sex ratio if the haplodiploid foundresses of pollinating fig wasps are siblings when those foundresses oviposit in a local patch.

Question: Do pollinating fig wasps adjust their offspring sex ratio in response to their relatedness to other nearby ovipositing fig wasps?

Organisms: Ceratosolen solmsi Mayr, an obligate pollinator of the functionally dioecious fig tree, Ficus hispida Linn.

Methods: From May to October 2007, we reared pollinators from a single foundress through five generations. We collected male syconia before they matured and placed them in a fine-mesh bag. We used female pollinators that emerged. Our protocol ensured that females were sibs at each stage. We counted female and male wasps, galls, bladders (inflated, hollow ovules), and total female flowers in 25% of each syconium. More than 10 syconia were obtained in each generation. For comparison, we ran a non-sibling foundress treatment in July and August 2007. We analysed the data using a generalized linear model

Results: Offspring sex ratio was similar among the five sibling mating generations in our experiments, and the offspring sex ratio in the local mate competition models with sibling foundresses and non-sibling foundresses was also similar. The offspring sex ratio increased in the presence of more foundresses.

Conclusion: Ceratosolen solmsi does not adjust its offspring sex ratio according to sibling relatedness.

Keywords: behaviour, co-evolution, inbreeding, pollinating fig wasp, relatedness, sex ratio, sibling.

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