Data from: Paternal signature in kin recognition cues of a social insect: concealed in juveniles, revealed in adults
Wong, Janine W. Y. et al. (2014), Data from: Paternal signature in kin recognition cues of a social insect: concealed in juveniles, revealed in adults, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.73180
Kin recognition is a key mechanism to direct social behaviours towards related individuals or avoid inbreeding depression. In insects, recognition is generally mediated by cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) compounds, which are partly inherited from parents. However, in social insects, potential nepotistic conflicts between group members from different patrilines are predicted to select against the expression of patriline-specific signatures in CHC profiles. Whereas this key prediction in the evolution of insect signalling received empirical support in eusocial insects, it remains unclear whether it can be generalized beyond eusociality to less-derived forms of social life. Here, we addressed this issue by manipulating the number of fathers siring clutches tended by females of the European earwig, Forficula auricularia, analysing the CHC profiles of the resulting juvenile and adult offspring, and using discriminant analysis to estimate the information content of CHC with respect to the maternal and paternal origin of individuals. As predicted, if paternally inherited cues are concealed during family life, increases in mating number had no effect on information content of CHC profiles among earwig juveniles, but significantly decreased the one among adult offspring. We suggest that age-dependent expression of patriline-specific cues evolved to limit the risks of nepotism as family-living juveniles and favour sibling-mating avoidance as group-living adults. These results highlight the role of parental care and social life in the evolution of chemical communication and recognition cues.