Parasitoid clutch size and irreversible evolution

Authors

  • Mayhew,

    1. Department of Biology, University of York, PO Box 373, York, YO10 5YW, U.K. and Institute of Evolutionary and Ecological Sciences, University of Leiden, Kaiserstraat 63, PO Box 9516, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands.,
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  • Ode,

    1. Institute of Evolutionary and Ecological Sciences, University of Leiden, Kaiserstraat 63, PO Box 9516, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands and Department of Entomology, Biological Control Facility, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843–2475, U.S.A.,
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  • Hardy,

    1. Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Aarhus, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.,
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  • Rosenheim

    1. Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, U.S.A.
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Peter J.Mayhew Department of Biology, University of York, PO Box 373, York, YO10 5YW, U.K. E-mail: pjm19@york.ac.uk

Abstract

Previously, theoretical and empirical studies suggested that parasitoids developing in small multiple-egg broods would evolve siblicidal behaviour, making such brood sizes rare and single-egg broods an evolutionary absorbing state. Recent evidence, however, suggests that small gregarious broods are relatively stable in many parasitoid taxa, and that gregarious development has evolved many times from solitary development. This suggests that new research is needed to assess how nonsiblicidal behaviour can spread and become stable. We discuss some potentially rewarding possibilities.

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