Data from: Parental care masks a density-dependent shift from cooperation to competition among burying beetle larvae
Schrader, Matthew; Jarrett, Benjamin J. M.; Kilner, Rebecca M. (2015), Data from: Parental care masks a density-dependent shift from cooperation to competition among burying beetle larvae, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.qt4nf
Studies of siblings have focused mainly on their competitive interactions and to a lesser extent on their cooperation. However, competition and cooperation are at opposite ends on a continuum of possible interactions and the nature of these interactions may be flexible with ecological factors tipping the balance towards competition in some environments and cooperation in others. Here we show that the presence of parental care and the density of larvae on the breeding carcass change the outcome of sibling interactions in burying beetle broods. With full parental care there was a strong negative relationship between larval density and larval mass, consistent with sibling competition for resources. In the absence of care, initial increases in larval density had beneficial effects on larval mass but further increases in larval density reduced larval mass. This likely reflects a density dependent shift between cooperation and competition. In a second experiment, we manipulated larval density and removed parental care. We found that the ability of larvae to penetrate the breeding carcass increased with larval density and that feeding within the carcass resulted in heavier larvae than feeding outside the carcass. However, larval density did not influence carcass decay.