When it is costly to have a caring mother: food limitation erases the benefits of parental care in earwigs

Meunier, J. and Kölliker, M.. (2012) When it is costly to have a caring mother: food limitation erases the benefits of parental care in earwigs. Biology Letters, 8 (4). pp. 547-550.

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The aggregation of parents with offspring is generally associated with different forms of care that improve offspring survival at potential costs to parents. Under poor environments, the limited amount of resources available can increase the level of competition among family members and consequently lead to adaptive changes in parental investment. However, it remains unclear as to what extent such changes modify offspring fitness, particularly when offspring can survive without parents such as in the European earwig, Forficula auricularia. Here, we show that under food restriction, earwig maternal presence decreased offspring survival until adulthood by 43 per cent. This effect was independent of sibling competition and was expressed after separation from the female, indicating lasting detrimental effects. The reduced benefits of maternal presence on offspring survival were not associated with higher investment in future reproduction, suggesting a condition-dependent effect of food restriction on mothers and local mother-offspring competition for food. Overall, these findings demonstrate for the first time a long-term negative effect of maternal presence on offspring survival in a species with maternal care, and highlight the importance of food availability in the early evolution of family life.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Verhaltensevolution (Kölliker)
UniBasel Contributors:Kölliker, Mathias
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:The Royal Society
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:05 Oct 2017 11:52
Deposited On:01 Feb 2013 08:44

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