Even for parasitic Hymenoptera, polyembryonic wasps are unusual creatures. Two features in particular, allow for novel exploration of major questions in behavioral ecology: the production of multiple offspring per egg and, in some species, the production of a soldier caste. Because final brood sizes of polyembryonic species are not constrained by trade-offs between current and future parental reproductive effort, we can clearly examine the selective forces at play that drive the balance between the number of offspring and their body size. Polyembryony also provides excellent opportunities to compare the performance of identical genotypes under different environmental conditions. Finally, polyembryonic species can provide unique tests of how genetic conflicts at multiple levels are resolved.
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© 2018 Elsevier Inc.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science