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Keywords:

  • bet-hedging;
  • egg size;
  • growth;
  • investment;
  • metamorphosis;
  • tadpoles;
  • unpredictable;
  • unpredictability

Abstract

Variable maternal provisioning may evolve when there is variation in the quality of offspring environments. The frog Crinia georgiana has high variability in egg size both within and between clutches, independent of female phenotype. It breeds in ponds with high spatial and temporal variation in habitat quality. Egg size strongly affected offspring fitness in good and poor quality offspring environments, whether the egg size difference was from between or within clutches. Since there is a trade-off in egg size and number, these fitness consequences translate to strong effects on maternal fitness. In the variable and unpredictable offspring environment of C. georgiana, the maintenance of variable maternal provisioning both within and between clutches is likely to be an evolved response to the offspring environment.