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Local mate competition mediates sexual conflict over sex ratio in a haplodiploid spider mite



Local mate competition mediates sexual conflict over sex ratio in a haplodiploid spider mite



Current Biology 24(23): 2850-2854



In haplodiploids, females pass their genes on to all their offspring, whereas a male's genes are only passed on to his daughters. Hence, males always benefit from female-biased sex ratios, whereas for females the optimal offspring sex ratio depends on the level of local mate competition (LMC), ranging from highly female-biased under strict LMC to unbiased in Panmixia. This generates a sexual conflict over sex ratio, the intensity of which depends on the LMC level, with most intense conflict in Panmixia. Such conflict might lead to an evolutionary arms race, with persistence traits evolving in males and resistance traits in females. Although this prediction is theoretically straightforward, it remains untested empirically. We addressed this by crossing spider mites that evolved under varying intensities of LMC (hence of sexual conflict), to mates from inbred lines. Under high levels of sexual conflict, both sexes evolved manipulative traits to shift the sex ratio to their own advantage. In females, this was partly achieved through changes in egg size. We thus show that (1) LMC levels modulate sexual conflict over sex ratio in haplodiploids, driving the evolution of manipulative traits, and (2) fathers can affect sex ratio, challenging conventional assumptions.

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Accession: 058227659

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 25454787

DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.10.040


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