Dynamics of sex ratio and female unmatedness under haplodiploidy

Andy Gardner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Haplodiploid sex determination allows unmated females to produce sons. Consequently, a scarcity of males may lead to a significant proportion of females remaining unmated, which may in turn give rise to a surfeit of males in the following generation. Stable oscillation of the sex ratio has been predicted by classic models, and it remains a puzzle as to why this is not observed in natural populations. Here, I investigate the dynamics of sex allocation over ecological and evolutionary timescales to assess the potential for sustained oscillation. I find that, whilst stable oscillation of the sex ratio is possible, the scope for such dynamical behavior is reduced if sex allocation strategies are evolutionary labile, especially if mated females may facultatively adjust their sex allocation according to the present availability of mating partners. My model, taken together with empirical estimates of female unmatedness in haplodiploid taxa, suggests that sustained oscillation of the sex ratio is implausible in natural populations. However, this phenomenon may be relevant to artificially introduced biological control agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1623-1628
Number of pages6
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number9
Early online date2 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • Arrhenotoky
  • ecology
  • evolution
  • oscillation
  • sex allocation
  • virginity
  • Biological-control agents


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