Data from: Negative association between parental care and sibling cooperation in earwigs: a new perspective on the early evolution of family life?
Kramer, Jos; Thesing, Julia; Meunier, Joël (2015), Data from: Negative association between parental care and sibling cooperation in earwigs: a new perspective on the early evolution of family life?, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5rg54
The evolution of family life requires net fitness benefits for offspring, which are commonly assumed to mainly derive from parental care. However, an additional source of benefits for offspring is often overlooked: cooperative interactions among juvenile siblings. In this study, we examined how sibling cooperation and parental care could jointly contribute to the early evolution of family life. Specifically, we tested whether the level of food transferred among siblings (sibling cooperation) in the European earwig Forficula auricularia (1) depends on the level of maternal food provisioning (parental care), and (2) is translated into offspring survival, as well as female investment into future reproduction. We show that higher levels of sibling food transfer were associated with lower levels of maternal food provisioning, possibly reflecting a compensatory relationship between sibling cooperation and maternal care. Furthermore, the level of sibling food transfer did not influence offspring survival, but was associated with negative effects on the production of the second and terminal clutch by the tending mothers. These findings indicate that sibling cooperation could mitigate the detrimental effects on offspring survival that result from being tended by low quality mothers. More generally, they are in line with the hypothesis that sibling cooperation is an ancestral behavior that can be retained to compensate for insufficient levels of parental investment.