Evol Ecol Res 12: 685-691 (2010)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Can the sex ratio of the spiralling whitefly (Aleurodicus dispersus) be described by local mate competition?

Hao-Yuan Hu1,2, Xiao-Li Zhu2, Dong-Yin Han1, Li-Ming Niu1 and Yue-Guan Fu1

1Key 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  2Key Laboratory of Biotic Environment and Ecological Safety in Anhui Province, College of Life Sciences, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu, Anhui, China

Correspondence: Yue-Guan Fu, Environment and Plant Protection Institute, Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences, Danzhou, Hainan 571737, China.
e-mail: fygcatas@163.com


Background: Local mate competition theory predicts a female-biased sex ratio if one or a few hymenopteran foundresses, such as parasitoid wasps, oviposit in a local patch, and a less female-biased sex ratio as the number of foundresses increases. Although hemipterans, whiteflies are also haplodiploid insects, and the spatial structure of whitefly populations is similar to that of wasps.

Question: Do whitefly sex ratios match the theoretical predictions of local mate competition?

Organism: The spiralling whitefly, Aleurodicus dispersus Russell (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae), a newly invasive, destructive pest on Hainan Island, China.

Methods: We investigated the effects of the number of foundresses on the sex ratio of A. dispersus.

Results: Offspring sex ratio was female-biased when only one foundress oviposited in a patch. Sex ratio increased with the number of foundresses. When only one foundress laid eggs in a patch, offspring sex ratio declined as the number of offspring increased. Male offspring emerged earlier than female offspring.

Conclusion: Local mate competition predicted the trends in sex ratio of the spiralling whitefly.

Keywords: behaviour, foundress, local mate competition, sex ratio, spiralling whitefly.

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