- Incomplete premating and postmating reproductive barriers between two parapatric populations of a social spider mite
- Experimental and Applied Acarology
- Volume | Issue number
- 65 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Closely related species with overlapping distributions often show premating reproductive barriers to avoid hybridization. Stigmaeopsis miscanthi (Saito) is a social spider mite infesting Chinese silver grass, and the species consists of two parapatric groups with frequent contacts within the contact zone. They differ in male-male aggressiveness, male morphology, female diapause traits, and life history parameters. There is incomplete but strong post-mating reproductive isolation between the two groups, and their DNA sequences are slightly different, suggesting that they diverged recently. In this study, we investigated premating reproductive barriers. We found that females from different groups frequently shared nest webs, indicating no barriers in the phase of nest establishment. However, inside nests, males from either group showed less courtship behaviour to females of the other group and they copulated less frequently with them when compared to females of the same group. However, the premating reproductive barrier was incomplete and asymmetric. Females of one group frequently resisted courtship by males from the other group, but females of the other group did not. We conclude that some gene flow may occur in the contact zone between the two groups.
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