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Extreme allomaternal care and unequal task participation by unmated females in a cooperatively breeding spider

Junghanns, Anja; Holm, Christina; Schou, Mads Fristrup LU ; Sørensen, Anna Boje; Uhl, Gabriele and Bilde, Trine (2017) In Animal Behaviour 132. p.101-107
Abstract
Division of reproductive behaviour and alloparental care are key aspects of many animal societies. In cooperatively breeding species, variation in helping effort and unequal task participation are frequently observed. However, the extent to which the reproductive state of an individual affects the tasks performed during offspring care remains poorly understood. In the social spider Stegodyphus dumicola, approximately 40% of females reproduce, and mothers show extended maternal care including eggsac tending, regurgitation feeding and matriphagy, in which they are consumed by the offspring. We asked whether and to what extent virgin females participate in extreme maternal care and whether they differ from reproducing females in foraging... (More)
Division of reproductive behaviour and alloparental care are key aspects of many animal societies. In cooperatively breeding species, variation in helping effort and unequal task participation are frequently observed. However, the extent to which the reproductive state of an individual affects the tasks performed during offspring care remains poorly understood. In the social spider Stegodyphus dumicola, approximately 40% of females reproduce, and mothers show extended maternal care including eggsac tending, regurgitation feeding and matriphagy, in which they are consumed by the offspring. We asked whether and to what extent virgin females participate in extreme maternal care and whether they differ from reproducing females in foraging activity. We show that virgin females contributed to all aspects of extended brood care, including regurgitation feeding and matriphagy. This suggests a physiological adaptation in virgin females to cooperative breeding, since in the subsocial Stegodyphus lineatus only mated females provide extended maternal care. Although virgin females and mothers are behaviourally totipotent, we found evidence for task differentiation as virgins engaged less in brood care and more in prey attack than mothers. High relatedness among nestmates and low probability of future reproduction in virgin helpers suggest alignment of reproductive interests between mothers and allomothers. Therefore, extreme allomaternal care by virgin helpers can be considered an adaptation to cooperative breeding in social spiders. (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
cooperation, reproductive skew, reproductive state, social spiders, sociality, task differentiation
in
Animal Behaviour
volume
132
pages
7 pages
publisher
Elsevier Ltd
external identifiers
  • scopus:85028720009
ISSN
1095-8282
DOI
10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.08.006
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
09bfda37-3086-45a4-8817-6657c83c7dfc
alternative location
http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0003347217302555
date added to LUP
2017-12-18 09:42:34
date last changed
2018-04-08 05:02:58
@article{09bfda37-3086-45a4-8817-6657c83c7dfc,
  abstract     = {Division of reproductive behaviour and alloparental care are key aspects of many animal societies. In cooperatively breeding species, variation in helping effort and unequal task participation are frequently observed. However, the extent to which the reproductive state of an individual affects the tasks performed during offspring care remains poorly understood. In the social spider Stegodyphus dumicola, approximately 40% of females reproduce, and mothers show extended maternal care including eggsac tending, regurgitation feeding and matriphagy, in which they are consumed by the offspring. We asked whether and to what extent virgin females participate in extreme maternal care and whether they differ from reproducing females in foraging activity. We show that virgin females contributed to all aspects of extended brood care, including regurgitation feeding and matriphagy. This suggests a physiological adaptation in virgin females to cooperative breeding, since in the subsocial Stegodyphus lineatus only mated females provide extended maternal care. Although virgin females and mothers are behaviourally totipotent, we found evidence for task differentiation as virgins engaged less in brood care and more in prey attack than mothers. High relatedness among nestmates and low probability of future reproduction in virgin helpers suggest alignment of reproductive interests between mothers and allomothers. Therefore, extreme allomaternal care by virgin helpers can be considered an adaptation to cooperative breeding in social spiders.},
  author       = {Junghanns, Anja and Holm, Christina and Schou, Mads Fristrup and Sørensen, Anna Boje and Uhl, Gabriele and Bilde, Trine},
  issn         = {1095-8282},
  keyword      = {cooperation,reproductive skew,reproductive state,social spiders,sociality,task differentiation},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {101--107},
  publisher    = {Elsevier Ltd},
  series       = {Animal Behaviour},
  title        = {Extreme allomaternal care and unequal task participation by unmated females in a cooperatively breeding spider},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.08.006},
  volume       = {132},
  year         = {2017},
}