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Sex Ratio of Small Hive Beetles: The Role of Pupation and Adult Longevity

Institute of Bee Health, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, 3097 Bern, Switzerland
Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA
Swiss Bee Research Centre, Agroscope, 3097 Bern, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2019, 10(5), 133;
Received: 10 April 2019 / Revised: 26 April 2019 / Accepted: 2 May 2019 / Published: 7 May 2019
PDF [443 KB, uploaded 7 May 2019]


The sex ratio of sexually reproducing animal species tends to be 1:1, which is known as Fisher’s principle. However, differential mortality and intraspecific competition during pupation can result in a biased adult sex ratio in insects. The female-biased sex ratio of small hive beetles (SHBs) is known from both laboratory and field studies, but the underlying reasons are not well understood. Here, we used laboratory mass and individual pupation to test if differential mortality between sexes and/or intraspecific interactions can explain this sex ratio. The data show a significant female-biased adult sex ratio in both mass and individual rearing, even when assuming that all dead individuals were males. Our results therefore suggest that neither differential mortality during pupation nor intraspecific interactions are likely to explain the female-biased sex ratio of freshly emerged adult SHBs. We regard it as more likely that either competition during the larval feeding stage or genetic mechanisms are involved. In addition, we compared our data with previously published data on the sex ratio of both freshly emerged and field-collected SHBs to investigate possible gender differences in adult longevity. The data show a significantly greater female bias in the sex ratio upon emergence, compared to field-collected SHBs, suggesting that adult females have a shorter longevity. View Full-Text
Keywords: small hive beetle; pupation; sex ratio; longevity small hive beetle; pupation; sex ratio; longevity

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Papach, A.; Gonthier, J.; Williams, G.R.; Neumann, P. Sex Ratio of Small Hive Beetles: The Role of Pupation and Adult Longevity. Insects 2019, 10, 133.

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