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Data from: Developmental and ecological benefits of the maternally transmitted microbiota in a dung beetle

Citation

Schwab, Daniel Bryan; Riggs, Hailey E.; Newton, Irene L.G.; Moczek, Armin P. (2016), Data from: Developmental and ecological benefits of the maternally transmitted microbiota in a dung beetle, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.9m2n7

Abstract

To complete their development, diverse animal species rely on the presence of communities of symbiotic microbiota that are vertically transmitted from mother to offspring. In the dung beetle genus Onthophagus, newly hatched larvae acquire maternal gut symbionts by the consumption of a maternal fecal secretion known as the pedestal. Here, we investigate the role of pedestal symbionts in mediating the normal development of Onthophagus gazella. Through the stepwise removal of environmental and maternal sources of microbial inoculation, we find that pedestal microbiota can enhance both overall growth and developmental rate in O. gazella. Further, we find that the beneficial effects of symbionts on developmental outcomes are amplified in the presence of ecologically relevant temperature and desiccation stressors. Collectively, our results suggest that the pedestal may provide an adaptive function by transmitting beneficial microbiota to developing dung beetle larvae and that the importance of microbiota for developmental and fitness outcomes may be context dependent.

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