Female reproductive success and the evolution of mating-type frequencies in tristylous populations


Author for correspondence: Kathryn A. Hodgins Tel: +1 978 5603 Fax: +1 416 978 5878 Email: hodgins@botany.utoronto.ca


  • • In tristylous populations, mating-type frequencies are governed by negative frequency-dependent selection typically resulting in equal morph ratios at equilibrium. However, Narcissus triandrus generally exhibits long-styled (L)-biased populations with a deficiency of the mid-styled (M)-morph.
  • • Here we used a pollen-transfer model and measurements of female fertility in natural populations to investigate whether these uneven morph ratios were associated with variation in female reproductive success.
  • • Our theoretical analysis demonstrated that morph ratio bias can result from maternal fitness differences among the morphs, and that these effects were magnified by asymmetrical mating. In nine out of 15 populations of N. triandrus, seed set differed significantly among the morphs, but pollen limitation occurred in only two of 11 populations investigated. Average seed set of the M-morph was positively associated with its frequency in populations. Flower size was negatively correlated with the seed set of the M-morph.
  • • Our results suggest that interactions between mating patterns and female fertility are responsible for variation in morph frequencies and loss of the M-morph from tristylous populations of N. triandrus.