Fine-scale selection by ovipositing females increases egg survival
Article first published online: 1 OCT 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Ecology and Evolution
Volume 2, Issue 11, pages 2763–2774, November 2012
How to Cite
Ecology and Evolution 2012; 2(11): 2763–2774
- Issue published online: 8 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 1 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 3 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Received: 19 AUG 2012
- habitat selection;
- Taricha granulosa ;
One of the most important defenses for the eggs of ovipositing female organisms is to avoid being laid in the same habitat as their predators. However, for most organisms, completely avoiding an offspring's predators is not possible. One mechanism that has been largely overlooked is for females to partition an oviposition site into microhabitats that differ in quality for offspring survival. We conducted a series of experiments to examine whether female newts avoid microhabitats utilized by their offspring's primary predator, caddisfly larvae. Female newts avoided laying eggs near predatory caddisflies and shifted egg laying upward in the water column when provided with a vertical dimension. Caddisflies were attracted to chemical stimuli from female newts and their eggs, yet primarily used benthic areas in experimental chambers. Finally, results from a field experiment indicate that the behavioral strategy employed by female newts increases offspring survival. This subset of non-genetic maternal effects, micro-oviposition avoidance, is likely an important yet underexplored mechanism by which females increase offspring survival.