Outbreeding depression, but no inbreeding depression in haplodiploid Ambrosia beetles with regular sibling mating.

Department of Behavioural Ecology, Institute of Zoology, University of Bern, Wohlenstrasse 50A, CH-3032 Hinterkappelen, Switzerland.
Evolution (Impact Factor: 4.66). 03/2005; 59(2):317-23. DOI: 10.1111/j.0014-3820.2005.tb00992.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In sexual reproduction the genetic similarity or dissimilarity between mates strongly affects offspring fitness. When mating partners are too closely related, increased homozygosity generally causes inbreeding depression, whereas crossing between too distantly related individuals may disrupt local adaptations or coadaptations within the genome and result in outbreeding depression. The optimal degree of inbreeding or outbreeding depends on population structure. A long history of inbreeding is expected to reduce inbreeding depression due to purging of deleterious alleles, and to promote outbreeding depression because of increased genetic variation between lineages. Ambrosia beetles (Xyleborini) are bark beetles with haplodiploid sex determination, strong local mate competition due to regular sibling mating within the natal chamber, and heavily biased sex ratios. We experimentally mated females of Xylosandrus germanus to brothers and unrelated males and measured offspring fitness. Inbred matings did not produce offspring with reduced fitness in any of the examined life-history traits. In contrast, outcrossed offspring suffered from reduced hatching rates. Reduction in inbreeding depression is usually attributed to purging of deleterious alleles, and the absence of inbreeding depression in X. germanus may represent the highest degree of purging of all examined species so far. Outbreeding depression within the same population has previously only been reported from plants. The causes and consequences of our findings are discussed with respect to mating strategies, sex ratios, and speciation in this unusual system.

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  • Bark Beetles: Biology and Ecology of Native and Invasive Species, Edited by Vega F. E., Hofstetter R. W., 01/2015: chapter 3: pages 85-156; Academic Press.
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    ABSTRACT: Polyandry is a common mating strategy in animals, increasing female fitness through direct (material) and indirect (genetic) benefits. Most theories about the benefits of polyandry come from studies of terrestrial animals, which have relatively complex mating systems and behaviors; less is known about the potential benefits of polyandry in sessile marine animals, for which potential mates may be scarce and females have less control over pre-copulatory mate choice. Here, we used microsatellite markers to examine multiple paternity in natural aggregations of the Pacific gooseneck barnacle Pollicipes elegans, testing the effect of density on paternity and mate relatedness on male reproductive success. We found that multiple paternity was very common (79% of broods), with up to five fathers contributing to a brood, though power was relatively low to detect more than four fathers. Density had a significant and positive linear effect on the number of fathers siring a brood, though this relationship leveled off at high numbers of fathers, which may reflect a lack of power and/or an upper limit to polyandry in this species. Significant skew in male reproductive contribution in multiply-sired broods was observed and we found a positive and significant relationship between the proportion of offspring sired and the genetic similarity between mates, suggesting that genetic compatibility may influence reproductive success in this species. To our knowledge, this is the first study to show high levels of multiple paternity in a barnacle, and overall, patterns of paternity in P. elegans appear to be driven primarily by mate availability. Evidence of paternity bias for males with higher relatedness suggests some form of post-copulatory sexual selection is taking place, but more work is needed to determine whether it operates during or post-fertilization. Overall, our results suggest that while polyandry in P. elegans is driven by mate availability, it may also provide a mechanism for females to ensure fertilization by compatible gametes and increase reproductive success in this sessile species.
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