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Keywords:

  • Beetle;
  • sex ratio;
  • sexual conflict;
  • sexual selection

Ecology Letters (2012)

Abstract

Males and females frequently have different fitness optima for shared traits, and as a result, genotypes that are high fitness as males are low fitness as females, and vice versa. When this occurs, biasing of offspring sex-ratio to reduce the production of the lower-fitness sex would be advantageous, so that for example, broods produced by high-fitness females should contain fewer sons. We tested for offspring sex-ratio biasing consistent with these predictions in broad-horned flour beetles. We found that in both wild-type beetles and populations subject to artificial selection for high- and low-fitness males, offspring sex ratios were biased in the predicted direction: low-fitness females produced an excess of sons, whereas high-fitness females produced an excess of daughters. Thus, these beetles are able to adaptively bias sex ratio and recoup indirect fitness benefits of mate choice.