Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 253-263

First online:

Haploid and diploid survival differences demonstrate selection in scale insect demes

  • D. N. AlstadAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology & Behavioral Biology, University of Minnesota
  • , G. F. EdmundsJrAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, University of Utah

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Black pineleaf scale insect populations are subdivided into genetically differentiated demes associated with individual pine trees. A comparison of sex ratios early and late in the life cycle demonstrated differences in the mortality experienced by haploid males and diploid females. Hatching ratios were significantly female-biased, and differential mortality increased this bias in ratios estimated just before adult male eclosion. The relative survival of males and females varied with overall mortality, causing a correlation between local densities and the surviving sex ratio. We suggest (a) that the genetic differentiation of scale demes results in part from selection pressures associated with individual pine trees, (b) that this differentiation entails an accumulation of locally adaptive traits within the scale subpopulation on each tree, (c) that expression of these adaptations in the haploid and diploid sexes may vary with their frequencies, and (d) that the surviving sex ratio thus offers a comparative measure of selection and the local adaptation achieved by the insects in individual demes.


Ploidy Nuculaspis californica scale insect demes sex ratio