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Inbreeding depression in two seed-feeding beetles, Callosobruchus maculatus and Stator limbatus (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)

  • C.W. Fox (a1), K.L. Scheibly (a1), B.P. Smith (a1) and W.G. Wallin (a1)


Inbreeding depression is well documented in insects but the degree to which inbreeding depression varies among populations within species, and among traits within populations, is poorly studied in insects other than Drosophila. Inbreeding depression was examined in two long-term laboratory colonies of the seed beetle, Callosobruchus maculatus (Fabricius), which are used frequently as models for experiments in ecology, evolution and behaviour. Inbreeding depression in these laboratory colonies are compared with one recently field-collected population of a different seed beetle, Stator limbatus Horn. Inbreeding reduced embryogenesis, egg hatch and larval survival in both species, such that eggs produced by sib matings were >17% less likely to produce an adult offspring. Inbred larvae also took 4–6% longer to develop to emergence in both species. Inbreeding depression varied among the measured traits but did not differ between the two populations of C. maculatus for any trait, despite the large geographic distance between source populations (western Africa vs. southern India). Inbreeding depression was similar in magnitude between C. maculatus and S. limbatus. This study demonstrates that these laboratory populations of C. maculatus harbour substantial genetic loads, similar to the genetic load of populations of S. limbatus recently collected from the field.


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