Reproductive strategies of two forms of flightless males in a non-pollinating fig wasp under partial local mate competition
Article first published online: 14 SEP 2010
© 2010 The Authors. Ecological Entomology © 2010 The Royal Entomological Society
Volume 35, Issue 6, pages 691–697, December 2010
How to Cite
WANG, Z.-J., PENG, Y.-Q., COMPTON, S. G. and YANG, D.-R. (2010), Reproductive strategies of two forms of flightless males in a non-pollinating fig wasp under partial local mate competition. Ecological Entomology, 35: 691–697. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2311.2010.01228.x
- Issue published online: 11 NOV 2010
- Article first published online: 14 SEP 2010
- Accepted 26 July 2010First published online 14 September 2010
- sex ratio;
1. The underlying basis of alternative male reproductive strategies is either genetic or environmental. Several non-pollinating fig wasp lineages have dimorphic males, typically with winged males that disperse from natal figs to mate and flightless males that seek mating opportunities in natal figs.
2. Walkerella sp. from Ficus benjamina has dark and pale wingless males. Observations and experiments in Xishuangbanna, Southern China found that (i) the sex ratio of Walkerella sp. did not vary with foundress number or brood size. (ii) The frequency of dark males increased with brood size and foundress number and they were absent from figs with a single foundress. This produced a higher proportion of dark males at higher densities. (iii) Males of both morphs fought, but injuries to dark males were more frequent. (iv) Dark males were more likely to disperse away from their natal figs and (v) they were more resistant to dehydration.
3. Responses to selection are constrained by the genetic options available. Consequently, selection pressures acting on different lineages can produce similar outcomes that are achieved in different ways. Walkerella species lack winged males, but dark males display some of their features, dispersing from natal figs and displaying appropriate physiological and behavioural adaptations. However, dark males also displayed increased levels of damage from fighting – a feature unlikely to be shared with the winged males of other species.