Evidence for an even sex allocation in haplodiploid cyclical parthenogens

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Recent theoretical work has shown that haplodiploid cyclical parthenogens, such as rotifers, are expected to have an equal frequency of male-producing and resting-egg producing females during their sexual phase. We tested this prediction by following sexual reproduction dynamics in two laboratory populations and one field population of the rotifer Brachionus plicatilis through two growing seasons. We recorded population density, proportion of sexual females, and sex allocation (the proportion of male-producing sexual females as a fraction of total sexual females). We found this sex allocation ratio to vary from 0.3 to 1.0 in single sampling events. However, when we computed sex allocation by using the integrated densities of both male-producing sexual females and resting-egg producing sexual females over time, the two laboratory populations and one of the two field growing seasons showed sex allocation ratios that did not significantly differ from the expected value of 0.5.

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