Mating Modifies Female Life History in a Haplodiploid Spider Mite
Macke, Emilie × Magalhaes, Sara Hong Do-Thi Khanh Frantz, Adrien Facon, Benoit Olivieri, Isabelle #
UNIV CHICAGO PRESS
The American Naturalist vol:179 issue:5 pages:E147-E162
Mating usually modifies females’ resource allocation pattern, often as a result of conflicts between male and female partners. Can such a switch occur even in the absence of sexual conflicts? We addressed this issue in the haplodiploid spider mite Tetranychus urticae, whose biology and population structure considerably reduce conflicts between males and females over reproductive decisions. Comparing virgin and mated females, we tested the hypothesis that mated females modify their allocation pattern so as to maximize their probability of producing daughters. Mated females produced fewer but larger eggs, resulting in an overall similar reproductive effort but an increased probability of producing daughters, since in this species larger eggs are more likely to be fertilized and thus to become female. Moreover, mated females concentrated their reproduction early in life. Again, this might be a way to produce more daughters, since sperm is more abundant early in life. For virgins, spreading reproductive investment might be a way to save resources to extend life span, thus increasing their probability of encountering a sexual partner. Females with multiple opportunities for mating produced fewer eggs and a less female-biased sex ratio than oncemated females, raising the question of why multiple mating often occurs in this species.