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Keywords:

  • dominance;
  • epistasis;
  • genetic variance;
  • inbreeding;
  • sperm competition;
  • Teleogryllus

Abstract

Mating between close relatives generally results in offspring of decreased fitness. Inbreeding depression is generally greater for life-history traits than for morphological traits, and recent studies of traits subject to sexual selection suggest that these may suffer the greatest inbreeding depression. Sexual selection continues after mating in the form of sperm competition and cryptic female choice, imposing strong selection on male competitive fertilization success. Here, I examine the effects of a single generation of full-sib mating on competitive fertilization success in a cricket, Teleogryllus oceanicus. The estimated coefficient of inbreeding depression in competitive fertilization success was 0.37, higher than that for other life-history and morphological traits. Such intense inbreeding depression coupled with little or no additive genetic variance for this trait is consistent with strong directional selection on male competitive fertilization success generating high levels of dominance variance, and provides an adaptive explanation for the evolution of inbreeding avoidance found in this species.