Data from: Species divergence in offspring begging and parental provisioning is linked to nutritional dependency
Capodeanu-Nägler, Alexandra et al. (2017), Data from: Species divergence in offspring begging and parental provisioning is linked to nutritional dependency, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.7kv86
In animal species in which parents provide food to their dependent young, offspring often display conspicuous begging signals. These solicitation behaviors are important components of parent–offspring communication, but it is currently unclear how they and the parental response covary with offspring dependency on parental food provisioning across species. Burying beetles (Nicrophorus) are well known for providing elaborate biparental care, including provisioning of begging larvae. By using a multispecies approach, we show that larval begging intensity, as well as the time parents spend provisioning, differ greatly between individuals of the 3 species: N. orbicollis, N. pustulatus, and N. vespilloides. Our results demonstrate that the most dependent offspring of N. orbicollis invest the most time in begging, whereas the most independent offspring of N. pustulatus invest the least amount of time in begging. Thus, we suggest that begging intensity differs due to intrinsic differences in nutritional need between the species rather than because of an arbitrary divergence in begging behavior. We further show that in all 3 species, females spend significantly more time provisioning than males, although there is considerable divergence between species in the extent to which females and males contribute to the provisioning of larvae. We discuss the potential selective factors leading to this diversification of offspring begging and parental provisioning in relation to the distinct variation in offspring dependence between the 3 species.