Plastic female choice to optimally balance (k)in- and out-breeding in a predatory mite

Peter Schausberger (Corresponding author), Demet Cekin

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed

Abstract

Both close inbreeding and extreme outbreeding may negatively affect direct fitness. Optimal outbreeding theory suggests that females should preferentially mate with distantly related males. (K)in breeding theory suggests that, at similar direct fitness costs of close inbreeding and extreme outbreeding, females should prefer close kin to non-kin. Empirical evidence of plastic female choice for an optimal balance between close inbreeding and extreme outbreeding remains elusive. We tested the combined predictions of optimal outbreeding and (k)in breeding theories in predatory mites Phytoseiulus persimilis from two origins, Sicily and Greece, which suffer from both close inbreeding and extreme outbreeding depression. In three separate experiments, virgin females were presented binary choices between familiar and unfamiliar brothers, and between familiar/unfamiliar brothers and distant kin or non-kin. Females of Greece but not Sicily preferred unfamiliar to familiar brothers. Females of both origins preferred distant kin to unfamiliar and familiar brothers but preferred unfamiliar brothers to non-kin. Females of Sicily but not Greece preferred familiar brothers to non-kin. The suggested kin recognition mechanisms are phenotype matching and direct familiarity, with finer-tuned recognition abilities of Greece females. Overall, our experiments suggest that flexible mate choice by P. persimilis females allows optimally balancing inclusive fitness trade-offs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7861
Number of pages8
JournalScientific Reports
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2020

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 106051 Behavioural biology

Keywords

  • MATE CHOICES
  • KIN RECOGNITION
  • MITES
  • phenotypic plasticity
  • SEXUAL-SELECTION
  • AVOIDANCE
  • PHYTOSEIULUS-PERSIMILIS
  • BEHAVIOR
  • MATE CHOICE
  • RELATEDNESS
  • CANNIBALISM
  • DISCRIMINATION
  • INBREEDING DEPRESSION
  • ADULT FEMALES

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