Developmental flexibility and the effect of social environment on fertility and fecundity in parthenogenetic reproduction
Article first published online: 5 MAR 2003
2003 BLACKWELL PUBLISHING, INC.
Evolution & Development
Volume 5, Issue 2, pages 163–168, March 2003
How to Cite
Moore, P. J. and Moore, A. J. (2003), Developmental flexibility and the effect of social environment on fertility and fecundity in parthenogenetic reproduction. Evolution & Development, 5: 163–168. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-142X.2003.03024.x
- Issue published online: 5 MAR 2003
- Article first published online: 5 MAR 2003
SUMMARY One specialized environment that can influence development arises in the context of social interactions, including the environment contributed by a sexual partner during sexual reproduction. It is often difficult, however, to separate out the effect of mating (fertilization) from the effect of social environment. In the study reported here we examine the effect of social environment mediated by a pheromonal signal on the fertility and fecundity of the facultatively parthenogenetic cockroach Nauphoeta cinerea. By examining parthenogenetically reproducing females, we isolate the effects of social environment in the absence of mating or fertilization. Females exposed to male odors are more likely to produce parthenogenetic offspring. Further, increased exposure to the male pheromone increases the number of offspring produced. Variation in timing of reproduction is also dependent on the male. Thus, social environments are a mechanism by which males contribute to the development of their offspring, resulting in variation in development. This study illustrates the potential evolutionary importance of social environments in development, because a requirement for male-contributed environments may be a constraint to evolving asexual reproduction from a sexually reproducing species.