Heritability and artificial selection on ambulatory dispersal distance in **Tetranychus urticae** : effects of density and maternal effects
Nieberding, Caroline Marie
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
, p. e26927,1-e26927,9
University of Antwerp
Dispersal distance is understudied although the evolution of dispersal distance affects the distribution of genetic diversity through space. Using the two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae, we tested the conditions under which dispersal distance could evolve. To this aim, we performed artificial selection based on dispersal distance by choosing 40 individuals (out of 150) that settled furthest from the home patch (high dispersal, HDIS) and 40 individuals that remained close to the home patch (low dispersal, LDIS) with three replicates per treatment. We did not observe a response to selection nor a difference between treatments in life-history traits (fecundity, survival, longevity, and sex-ratio) after ten generations of selection. However, we show that heritability for dispersal distance depends on density. Heritability for dispersal distance was low and non-significant when using the same density as the artificial selection experiments while heritability becomes significant at a lower density. Furthermore, we show that maternal effects may have influenced the dispersal behaviour of the mites. Our results suggest primarily that selection did not work because high density and maternal effects induced phenotypic plasticity for dispersal distance. Density and maternal effects may affect the evolution of dispersal distance and should be incorporated into future theoretical and empirical studies.