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A role for sexual conflict in the evolution of reproductive traits in Nasonia wasps?

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Sexual conflict theory predicts that female and male reproductive traits coevolve resulting in disruption of reproductive behaviour upon mating of individuals from diverged populations. We used interfertile species of haplodiploid Nasonia wasps to compare re-mating frequency, longevity, oviposition rate and sperm use of conspecifically and heterospecifically mated females. Females that first mated with a heterospecific male re-mated more often a second time, indicating that conspecific males reduce female receptivity more. Mating did not affect female lifespan. Lifetime production of sons and daughters was significantly reduced in heterospecifically mated females. Dissection of females confirmed that heterospecific sperm survives equally well as conspecific sperm during storage in the spermatheca. Differences in daily fecundity and age at which females become sperm depleted could in part be explained by species differences in ovariole numbers. We conclude that sexual conflict may play a role in the evolution of female mating rate, fecundity and sex allocation in Nasonia.

Affiliations: 1: Evolutionary Genetics, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies, University of Groningen, PO Box 14, 9750 AA Haren, The Netherlands; Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, P.O. Box 35, 40014, Jyväskylä, Finland; 2: Evolutionary Genetics, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies, University of Groningen, PO Box 14, 9750 AA Haren, The Netherlands


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