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Data from: Short-term benefits, but transgenerational costs of maternal loss in an insect with facultative maternal care

Citation

Thesing, Julia; Kramer, Jos; Koch, Lisa K.; Meunier, Joël (2015), Data from: Short-term benefits, but transgenerational costs of maternal loss in an insect with facultative maternal care, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.sm6n2

Abstract

A lack of parental care is generally assumed to entail substantial fitness costs for offspring that ultimately select for the maintenance of family life across generations. However, it is unknown whether these costs arise when parental care is facultative, thus questioning their fundamental importance in the early evolution of family life. Here, we investigated the short-term, long-term and transgenerational effects of maternal loss in the European earwig Forficula auricularia, an insect with facultative post-hatching maternal care. We showed that maternal loss did not influence the developmental time and survival rate of juveniles, but surprisingly yielded adults of larger body and forceps size, two traits associated with fitness benefits. In a cross-breeding/cross-fostering experiment, we then demonstrated that maternal loss impaired the expression of maternal care in adult offspring. Interestingly, the resulting transgenerational costs were not only mediated by the early-life experience of tending mothers, but also by inherited, parent-of-origin-specific effects expressed in juveniles. Orphaned females abandoned their juveniles for longer and fed them less than maternally-tended females, while foster mothers defended juveniles of orphaned females less well than juveniles of maternally-tended females. Overall, these findings reveal the key importance of transgenerational effects in the early evolution of family life.

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