The reproductive and mating behaviour of the gregarious parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis
Burton, Maxwell N
Mating behaviours and reproductive decisions are of key importance to evolutionary fitness. However, it is often difficult to measure and compare the fitness of different individuals, especially in long-lived species, and for behaviours that are subject to multiple selective forces. A striking exception though is the field of sex-allocation research, which is a triumphant success of evolutionary theory (Charnov 1982). The reason for this success is that, following Fisher (1958), the fitness consequences of different sex ratios can be readily predicted and tested analytically. These predictions are very amenable to empirical testing and provide a platform to measure the precision of adaptation, which is crucial for understanding the nature of evolutionary change.