Mating system, mating behavior and the evolution thereof is the foundation of this study. More specifically the effect of inbreeding on the evolution of mating behavior is investigated. To this end the pollinating fig wasp, Platyscapa awekei, lends itself to inquiry about inbreeding and the effect on its behavior. A pollinating fig wasp female will lay her eggs inside a syconium, and all offspring will mate with each other. Interestingly the abovementioned pollinating wasp exhibits male dispersal, not commonly expected to occur in a haplodiploid species observed to inbreed frequently. Several theories attempt to explain the evolution of male dispersal in this case, but very little work has been done on the effect of inbreeding on the choice to disperse. In order to study the effects of inbreeding it was necessary to be able to measure the inbredness of individuals. For this reason I developed micro satellite markers both to determine the inbredness of individuals but also to derive parentage from offspring genotypes. With the inbreeding status in hand I had to correlate this with fitness measures in order to derive the effect of inbreeding on this species. Interestingly I found both inbreeding and outbreeding depression, with optimal fitness at some point between fully inbred and fully outbred status. I give some explanations for the occurrence of dispersal in this species but come to the conclusion that dispersal is merely part of a mixed mating system and that more detailed work need to be done to derive what the specific effect of dispersal is on fitness.
Dissertation (MSc(Agric))--University of Pretoria, 2009.