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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
December 11, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Tristan A.F. Long


email: Tristan A.F. Long
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Tristan A.F. Long

Do female Drosophila melanogaster adaptively bias offspring sex ratios in relation to the age of their mate? Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B. 272: 1781-1787.

T.A.F. Long and A. Pischedda

published: 2005 | Research publication | Tristan A.F Long

Modification of offspring sex ratios in response to parental quality is predicted when the long-term fitness returns of sons and daughters differ. One factor that may influence a mother's sex allocation decision is the quality (or attractiveness) of her mate. We investigated whether the sex ratios of offspring produced by female Drosophila melanogaster are biased with respect to the age of the males to which they are mated, and whether there is an adaptive basis for this phenomenon. We found that females mated to old males (13d post-eclosion) initially produced a greater proportion of daughters than did females mated to young males (1d post-eclosion). This pattern does not appear to be due to a systematic difference in the numbers or mortality of the X- and Y-bearing sperm originating from old and young fathers, as the overall sex ratios of all offspring produced from a single copulation did not differ between broods fathered by the two types of males. The sons of older males fared worse in competitive mating assays than did the sons of younger males, while daughters of old and young males were of comparable fitness. These results suggest that there is an adaptive basis for the observed sex ratio modification.

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