Unexpectedly low frequencies of diploid males in an inbreeding parasitoid with complementary sex determination


Corresponding author. E-mail: dominique.mazzi@ipw.agrl.ethz.ch


In hymenopterans with single locus complementary sex determination, sex depends on the genotype at one polymorphic locus. Haploids are always male, while diploids are female when heterozygous and male when homozygous at the sex-determining locus. Brothers and sisters have a 50% chance of sharing a sex allele (i.e. of being ‘matched’), and hence half of all sibling matings are expected to produce diploid males at the expense of females. Nevertheless, observed frequencies of diploid males are often lower than predicted, as diploid males may succumb to pre-imaginal mortality, or because unmatched mates or sperm enjoy a competitive advantage. We counted diploid males in broods of the parasitoid wasp Cotesia glomerata sampled in the field, and in broods produced through controlled laboratory crosses. Consistently, the frequency of diploid males fell below expectations based upon the estimated occurrence of sibling mating. In the staged broods with diploid males, females made up a disproportionately large share of the diploids. Broods with and without diploid males were of similar size. Hence, the shortage of diploid males cannot be accounted for by differential pre-imaginal mortality alone. Instead, we postulate the existence of a mechanism that leads to preferential fertilization of eggs by sperm bearing unmatched alleles. © 2012 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2012, ●●, ●●–●●.