How does the timing of weapon loss influence reproductive traits and trade-offs in the insect Narnia femorata?
Greenway, Ginny; Angelis, Emily; Miller, Christine (2023), How does the timing of weapon loss influence reproductive traits and trade-offs in the insect Narnia femorata?, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.p8cz8w9vk
A longstanding goal of evolutionary biology is to understand among-individual variation in resource allocation decisions and the timing of these decisions. Recent studies have shown that investment in elaborate and costly weapons can result in trade-offs with investment in testes. In this study, we ask at what point plasticity in resource allocation to these different structures ceases during development, if at all? Furthermore, can individuals tailor their reproductive behavior to accompany structural changes? We experimentally addressed these questions in the insect Narnia femorata, quantifying resource reallocation across development for the first time, using a phenotypic engineering approach. To investigate whether allocation plasticity diminishes throughout ontogeny, we induced weapon loss at a range of different developmental stages and examined subsequent testes mass and reproductive behavior. We found that relative testes mass increased as weapon investment decreased, implying a direct trade-off between testes and weapon investment. However, autotomy post-adulthood ceased to induce larger testes mass. Intriguingly, losing a weapon while young was associated with extended adult mating duration, potentially enabling compensation for reduced fighting ability. Our results highlight the importance of examining the ontogeny of trade-offs between reproductive traits and the flexibility of the relationship between reproductive morphology and behavior.
National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-1553100
National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Award: FLA-ENY-005691