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Maternal nutritional condition and genetic differentiation affect brood size and offspring body size in Nicrophorus

Title data

Steiger, Sandra ; Richter, Katja ; Müller, Josef K. ; Eggert, Anne-Katrin:
Maternal nutritional condition and genetic differentiation affect brood size and offspring body size in Nicrophorus.
In: Zoology. Vol. 110 (2007) Issue 5 . - pp. 360-368.
ISSN 0944-2006
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.zool.2007.06.001

Abstract in another language

In most animal species, brood size and body size exhibit some variation within and between populations. This is also true for burying beetles (genus Nicrophorus), a group in which the body size of offspring depends critically on the number of offspring competing for food due to the discrete nature of resource used for larval nutrition (vertebrate carcasses). In one species, brood size and body size are correlated with population density, and appear to be phenotypically plastic. We investigated potential proximate causes of between-population variation in brood size and body size in two species, Nicrophorus vespilloides and Nicrophorus defodiens. Our first experiment supported the notion that brood size is phenotypically plastic, because it was affected by environmental variation in adult nutritional condition. We found that the pre-breeding nutritional status of female N. vespilloides affected the number of eggs they laid, the number of surviving larvae in their broods, and the body size of their offspring. We do not know whether this plasticity is adaptive because greater offspring body size confers an advantage in contests over breeding resources, or whether starved females are constrained to produce smaller clutches because they cannot fully compensate for their poor pre-breeding nutritional status by feeding from the carcass. Our second experiment documents that brood size, specifically the infanticidal brood-size adjustment behavior, has undergone genetic differentiation between two populations of N. defodiens. Even under identical breeding conditions with identical numbers of first-instar larvae, females descended from the two populations produced broods of different size with corresponding differences in offspring body size.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER147502
Keywords: Brood size; Body size; Phenotypic plasticity; Infanticide; Burying beetle
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Animal Ecology II - Evolutionary Animal Ecology > Chair Animal Ecology II - Evolutionary Animal Ecology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sandra Steiger
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 500 Science
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2019 07:47
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2019 07:47
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/48414