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Resource availability, but not polyandry, influences sibling conflict in a burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 05:22 authored by Thomas Botterill-JamesThomas Botterill-James, Ford, L, Geoffrey WhileGeoffrey While, Smiseth, PT
Conflict over resources is a fundamental component of family life. Family conflicts are predicted to be strongly influenced by resource availability and levels of relatedness between family members. Here, we examined the effects of these factors on intra-brood sibling conflict in a family living beetle, Nicrophorus vespilloides, where offspring are partially dependent on parental provisioning. Specifically, we measured the intensity of offspring begging behavior in response to experimental manipulation of 1) relatedness between siblings (through mating females monogamously or polyandrously) and 2) resource availability (through varying the amount of resources at the onset of breeding). We found no effect of polyandry on sibling conflict or patterns of female reproductive investment, but we did find that sibling conflict was influenced by resource availability. Specifically, larvae spent more time begging on smaller carcasses, but only in smaller clutches. In addition, we found that resource availability affected patterns of female reproductive investment: when resource availability was low, females laid eggs more synchronously and produced fewer eggs but of a larger size. We discuss potential explanations for these results, and the implications of this study for understanding the factors that mediate family dynamics.

History

Publication title

Behavioral Ecology

Volume

28

Issue

4

Pagination

1093-1100

ISSN

1045-2249

Department/School

International School

Publisher

Oxford Univ Press Inc

Place of publication

Journals Dept, 2001 Evans Rd, Cary, USA, Nc, 27513

Rights statement

© The Author 2017.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences

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