Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Understanding the evolution of female multiple mating (polyandry) is crucial for understanding sexual selection and sexual conflict. Despite this interest, little is known about its genetic basis or whether genetics influences the evolutionary origin or maintenance of polyandry. Here, we explore the quantitative genetic basis of polyandry in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis, a species in which female re-mating has been observed to evolve in the laboratory. We performed a quantitative genetic experiment on a recently collected population of wasps. We found low heritabilities of female polyandry (re-mating frequency after 18 h), low heritability of courtship duration and a slightly higher heritability of copulation duration. However, the coefficients of additive genetic variance for these traits were all reasonably large (CV(A)>7.0). We also found considerable dam effects for all traits after controlling for common environment, suggesting either dominance or maternal effects. Our work adds to the evidence that nonadditive genetic effects may influence the evolution of mating behaviour in Nasonia vitripennis, and the evolution of polyandry more generally.

Original publication




Journal article


Heredity (Edinb)

Publication Date





69 - 73


Animals, Crosses, Genetic, Evolution, Molecular, Female, Genetic Variation, Male, Phenotype, Quantitative Trait Loci, Selection, Genetic, Sexual Behavior, Animal, Wasps