Duncan, A.B., Marinosci, C., Devaux, C., Lefèvre, S., Magalhães, S., Griffin, J., Valente, A., Ronce, O. & Olivieri, I. (2018) Transgenerational cues about local mate competition affect offspring sex ratios in the spider mite Tetranychus urticae. bioRxiv 240127, ver. 3 peer-reviewed by Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology. DOI:10.1101/240127
This preprint has been reviewed and recommended by Peer Community In Evolutionary Biology (https://doi.org/10.24072/pci.evolbiol.100051). In structured populations, competition for mates between closely related males, termed Local Mate Competition (LMC), is expected to select for female-biased offspring sex ratios. However, the cues underlying sex allocation decisions remain poorly studied. Here, we test for several cues in the spider mite Tetranychus urticae, a species that was previously found to adjust the sex ratio of its offspring in response to the number of females within the local population, i.e. a patch. We here investigate whether the offspring sex ratio of T. urticae females changes in response to 1) the current number of females in the same patch, 2) the number of females in the patches of their mothers and 3) their relatedness to their mate. Single females on patches produced similar sex ratios to those of groups of 15 females; their mothers had been in identical conditions of panmixia. The offspring sex ratios of females mated with their brother did not differ from those of females mated with an unrelated male. Females however produced a more female-biased offspring sex ratio if their mothers were alone on a patch compared to 15 other females. Thus, maternal environment is used as a cue for the sex allocation of daughters. We discuss the conditions under which the maternal environment may be a reliable predictor of LMC experienced by grand-sons.