Virginity in haplodiploid populations: a comparison of estimation methods

Authors


WEST Institute of Cell, Animal and Population Biology, University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, U.K. Stu.West@ed.ac.uk

Abstract

1. The presence of ovipositing virgin females, who are able to produce only male offspring, may have several important consequences for the evolution of reproductive strategies.

2. The prevalence of virginity for five fig wasp species was estimated using three different methods: (1) the proportion of females developing in fruit that contained no conspecific males; (2) dissection of females caught on sticky traps; and (3) dissection of females that had emerged from their galled flowers into the fruit cavity.

3. The estimates obtained by method 1 (females developing in single sex broods) were lower than those obtained by the other methods.

4. Across species, the estimates obtained by method 1 (females developing in single sex broods) were significantly correlated with those obtained by method 2 (sticky trap caught females).

5. Mating with sperm-depleted males is unlikely to occur in these species.

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