Data from: The role of neuropeptide F in a transition to parental care
Cunningham, Christopher B. et al. (2016), Data from: The role of neuropeptide F in a transition to parental care, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.330c1
The genetics of complex social behaviour can be dissected by examining the genetic influences of component pathways, which can be predicted based on expected evolutionary precursors. Here, we examine how gene expression in a pathway that influences the motivation to eat is altered during parental care that involves direct feeding of larvae. We examine the expression of neuropeptide F, and its receptor, in the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides, which feeds pre-digested carrion to its begging larvae. We found that the npf receptor was greatly reduced during active care. Our research provides evidence that feeding behaviour was a likely target during the evolution of parental care in N. vespilloides. Moreover, dissecting complex behaviours into ethologically distinct sub-behaviours is a productive way to begin to target the genetic mechanisms involved in the evolution of complex behaviours.