Predation drives interpopulation differences in parental care expression
Article first published online: 12 DEC 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2012 British Ecological Society
Journal of Animal Ecology
Volume 82, Issue 2, pages 429–437, March 2013
How to Cite
Huang, W.-S., Lin, S.-M., Dubey, S., Pike, D. A. (2013), Predation drives interpopulation differences in parental care expression. Journal of Animal Ecology, 82: 429–437. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12015
- Issue published online: 18 FEB 2013
- Article first published online: 12 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 20 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Received: 22 MAY 2012
- Kuo Wu Hsiu Luan Culture and Education Foundation
- National Science Council. Grant Number: NSC 99-2621-B-178-001-MY3
- Taiwanese National Museum of Natural Science. Grant Number: NMNSHP02-002
- behavioural plasticity;
- maternal care;
- parental care evolution;
- reciprocal translocation
- 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.