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Title: Sexual selection and sex allocation in the gregarious parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis
Authors: Moynihan, Anna Margaret
Supervisors: Shuker, David M.
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: Sex allocation and sexual selection have been heavily studied, but rarely linked. In this thesis I investigated the interface between them in the gregarious parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis, both directly and through their interactions with the mating system and sexual conflict. Chapter 2 investigated sexual selection and mating at the natal site: earlier eclosing males mated more females independently of body size. Nasonia follows Local Mate Competition, which describes how a female laying eggs alone on a patch of resources (a so-called single-foundress) should lay an extremely female-biased brood to minimise competition between her sons, yet ensure all her daughters are fertilised. Based on this I predicted that males with with fewer brothers would be better inseminators. Despite finding significant among-strain variation in (1) single-foundress sex ratio, (2) mate competitiveness when alone and (3) when in competition, (4) sperm resources, but not (5) sperm-depletion (Chapters 3 & 4), I did not find the predicted relationship. Conversely males from strains with more brothers had a higher mating success under competition (Chapter 3) leading to the question: does mating success select on sex ratio or vice versa? Either way it is a result of an interaction between sexual selection and sex allocation. Chapter 5 investigated the role of male post-copulatory courtship on female re-mating, and found that among-strain variation in female re-mating was not associated with variation in the duration of the post-copulatory courtship. Chapter 6 reviewed sexual conflict in the Hymenoptera: their haplodiploid genetics, newly sequenced genomes and varied life-histories provides a base for future research to build on. Finally I highlight the novel links between sexual selection, sex allocation, sexual conflict and the mating system found during my studies that will hopefully prompt future research on this topic.
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Type: Thesis
Publisher: University of St Andrews
Appears in Collections:Biology Theses

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