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Beyond sex allocation: the role of mating systems in sexual selection in parasitoid wasps

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Abstract

Despite the diverse array of mating systems and life histories which characterise the parasitic Hymenoptera, sexual selection and sexual conflict in this taxon have been somewhat overlooked. For instance, parasitoid mating systems have typically been studied in terms of how mating structure affects sex allocation. In the past decade, however, some studies have sought to address sexual selection in the parasitoid wasps more explicitly and found that, despite the lack of obvious secondary sexual traits, sexual selection has the potential to shape a range of aspects of parasitoid reproductive behaviour and ecology. Moreover, various characteristics fundamental to the parasitoid way of life may provide innovative new ways to investigate different processes of sexual selection. The overall aim of this review therefore is to re-examine parasitoid biology with sexual selection in mind, for both parasitoid biologists and also researchers interested in sexual selection and the evolution of mating systems more generally. We will consider aspects of particular relevance that have already been well studied including local mating structure, sex allocation and sperm depletion. We go on to review what we already know about sexual selection in the parasitoid wasps and highlight areas which may prove fruitful for further investigation. In particular, sperm depletion and the costs of inbreeding under chromosomal sex determination provide novel opportunities for testing the role of direct and indirect benefits for the evolution of mate choice.
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-627
Number of pages29
JournalBiological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Volume90
Issue number2
Early online date1 Jul 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2015

    Research areas

  • Parasitoid, Sexual selection, Mating system, Sperm depletion, Sex allocation

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