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Inbreeding avoidance in spiders: evidence for rescue effect in fecundity of female spiders with outbreeding opportunity

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  • T. Bilde
  • A.A. Maklakov, Sweden
  • Nadia Schilling, Denmark
  • Department of Biological Sciences, Genetics and Ecology
Selection by inbreeding depression should favour mating biases that reduce the risk of fertilization by related mates. However, equivocal evidence for inbreeding avoidance questions the strength of inbreeding depression as a selective force in the evolution of mating biases. Lack of inbreeding avoidance can be because of low risk of inbreeding, variation in tolerance to inbreeding or high costs of outbreeding. We examined the relationship between inbreeding depression and inbreeding avoidance adaptations under two levels of inbreeding in the spider Oedothorax apicatus, asking whether preference for unrelated sperm via pre- and/or post-copulatory mechanisms could restore female fitness when inbreeding depression increases. Using inbred isofemale lines we provided female spiders with one or two male spiders of different relatedness in five combinations: one male sib; one male nonsib; two male sibs; two male nonsibs; one male sib and one male nonsib. We assessed the effect of mating treatment on fecundity and hatching success of eggs after one and three generations of inbreeding. Inbreeding depression in F1 was not sufficient to detect inbreeding avoidance. In F3, inbreeding depression caused a major decline in fecundity and hatching rates of eggs. This effect was mitigated by complete recovery in fecundity in the sib-nonsib treatment, whereas no rescue effect was detected in the hatching success of eggs. The rescue effect is best explained by post-mating discrimination against kin via differential allocation of resources. The natural history of O. apicatus suggests that the costs of outbreeding may be low which combined with high costs of inbreeding should select for avoidance mechanisms. Direct benefits of post-mating inbreeding avoidance and possibly low costs of female multiple mating can favour polyandry as an inbreeding avoidance mechanism.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Pages (from-to)1237-1242
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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