Predation drives interpopulation differences in parental care expression

Wen San Huang, Si-Min Lin, Sylvain Dubey, David A. Pike

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Expressing parental care after oviposition or parturition is usually an obligate (evolved) trait within a species, despite evolutionary theory predicting that widespread species should vary in whether or not they express parental care according to local selection pressures. The lizard Eutropis longicaudata expresses maternal care only in a single population throughout its large geographical range, but why this pattern occurs is unknown. We used reciprocal translocation and predator exclusion experiments to test whether this intraspecific variation is a fixed trait within populations and whether predator abundance explains this perplexing pattern. Wild-caught female lizards that were reciprocally translocated consistently guarded or abandoned eggs in line with their population of origin. By contrast, most lizards raised in a common garden environment and subsequently released as adults adopted the maternal care strategy of the recipient population, even when the parents originated from a population lacking maternal care. Egg predation represents a significant fitness cost in the populations where females display egg-guarding behaviour, but guarding eggs outweighs this potential cost by increasing hatching success. These results imply that predators can be a driving force in the expression of parental care in instances where it is normally absent and that local selection pressure is sufficient to cause behavioural divergence in whether or not parental care is expressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-437
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Volume82
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Mar 1

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parental care
maternal care
predation
lizard
predator
egg
lizards
egg predation
exclusion experiment
predators
parturition
evolutionary theory
intraspecific variation
oviposition
cost
translocation
garden
reciprocal translocation
hatching
fitness

Keywords

  • Behavioural plasticity
  • Islands
  • Maternal care
  • Parental care evolution
  • Reciprocal translocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Predation drives interpopulation differences in parental care expression. / Huang, Wen San; Lin, Si-Min; Dubey, Sylvain; Pike, David A.

In: Journal of Animal Ecology, Vol. 82, No. 2, 01.03.2013, p. 429-437.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Huang, Wen San ; Lin, Si-Min ; Dubey, Sylvain ; Pike, David A. / Predation drives interpopulation differences in parental care expression. In: Journal of Animal Ecology. 2013 ; Vol. 82, No. 2. pp. 429-437.
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