Discrete clutch sizes, local mate competition, and the evolution of precise sex allocation.


:Optimal sex allocation under a population structure with local mate competition has been studied mainly in deterministic models that are based on the assumption of continuous clutch sizes; Hamilton's (1967) model is the classic example. When clutch sizes are small, however, this assumption is not appropriate. When taking the discrete nature of eggs into account it becomes critically important whether females control only the mean sex ratio ("binomial" females) or the variance as well ("precise" females). As both types of sex ratio control have been found, it is of interest to investigate their evolutionary stability. In particular, it may be questioned whether perfect control of the sex ratio is always favoured by natural selection when mating groups are small. Models based on discrete clutch sizes are developed to determine evolutionarily stable (ES) sex ratios. It is predicted that when all females are of the binomial type they should produce a lower proportion of daughters than predicted by Hamilton's model, especially when clutch size and foundress number are small. When all females are of the precise type, the ES number of sons should generally be either a stable mixed strategy or a pure strategy, but there are special cases (for two foundresses and particular clutch sizes) where the ES number of sons lies in a trajectory of neutrally stable mixed strategies; the predicted mean sex ratios can be either higher or lower than predicted by Hamilton's model. The existence of ES mixed strategies implies that individual females do not necessarily have to produce sex ratios with perfect precision; some level of imperfection can be tolerated (i.e., will not be selected against). When the population consists of both binomial and precise females, the latter always have a selective advantage. This advantage of precision does not disappear when precision approaches fixation in the population. The latter result contradicts the conclusions of Taylor and Sauer (1980) which is due to their way of expressing selective advantage; they define selective advantage as the between-generation increase per allele, which will always become vanishingly small when an allele reaches fixation, irrespective of fitness differences.


Theor Popul Biol


Nagelkerke CJ




Has Abstract


1996-06-01 00:00:00














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