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Mate choice promotes inbreeding avoidance in the two-spotted spider mite

, : Mate choice promotes inbreeding avoidance in the two-spotted spider mite. Experimental & Applied Acarology 54(2): 119-124

Since inbreeding in Tetranychus urticae can reduce offspring fitness, sexual selection may favour disassortative mate choice with respect to relatedness of the mating partners. We tested whether T. urticae shows this preference for mating with unrelated partners. We chose an experimental set-up with high potential for female choosiness, since females only mate once and are therefore expected to be the choosier gender. An adult virgin female was placed together with two adult males from the same population. One male was unrelated and the other male was related-a brother with whom she had grown up. Significantly more copulations (64%) took place with the unrelated male. Time to mating did not depend on the female-to-male relatedness. The remaining (non-copulating) male tried to interfere with the ongoing mating in the majority of cases, but this interference did not depend on the female-to-male relatedness. These results imply that T. urticae (a) can recognize kin (via genetic and/or environmental similarity) and (b) has the potential to avoid inbreeding through mate choice.


PMID: 21400191

DOI: 10.1007/s10493-011-9431-y

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