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Offspring performance and the adaptive benefits of prolonged pregnancy: experimental tests in a viviparous lizard

While, Geoffrey M.; Uller, Tobias LU and Wapstra, Erik (2009) In Functional Ecology 23(4). p.818-825
Abstract
Offspring locomotor performance has been shown to influence fitness related traits in a wide range of taxa. One potential mechanism by which viviparous animals can increase the performance (e.g. sprint speed) of their offspring is by prolonging pregnancy (beyond that required for complete development). However, to date studies examining this potentially important maternal effect have been largely descriptive.



The skink Egernia whitii is an ideal candidate species to examine the consequences of delayed parturition on the performance of offspring as it routinely gives birth asynchronously despite synchronous offspring development.



Using correlative data from a natural population and experimental... (More)
Offspring locomotor performance has been shown to influence fitness related traits in a wide range of taxa. One potential mechanism by which viviparous animals can increase the performance (e.g. sprint speed) of their offspring is by prolonging pregnancy (beyond that required for complete development). However, to date studies examining this potentially important maternal effect have been largely descriptive.



The skink Egernia whitii is an ideal candidate species to examine the consequences of delayed parturition on the performance of offspring as it routinely gives birth asynchronously despite synchronous offspring development.



Using correlative data from a natural population and experimental manipulations of birthing asynchrony, we tested the prediction that, within litters, last born offspring have a better locomotor performance than first born offspring.



We show that prolonged pregnancy does significantly influence average offspring locomotor performance; however, contrary to predictions, the direction of this effect is dependent on gestation length and thus offspring date of birth. Last born offspring had significantly poorer performance than first born offspring in litters early in the season with this pattern reversed late in the season.



These results do not support the hypothesis that prolonged retention of fully formed offspring consistently increases offspring performance; however, they may help us understand the asymmetries in offspring competitive ability generated by birthing asynchrony. (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Functional Ecology
volume
23
issue
4
pages
818 - 825
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • scopus:67649641289
ISSN
1365-2435
DOI
10.1111/j.1365-2435.2009.01544.x
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
e7e9394f-d29a-4982-81fa-a0f2468f171e (old id 4778316)
date added to LUP
2014-11-11 09:10:22
date last changed
2017-01-01 04:55:30
@article{e7e9394f-d29a-4982-81fa-a0f2468f171e,
  abstract     = {Offspring locomotor performance has been shown to influence fitness related traits in a wide range of taxa. One potential mechanism by which viviparous animals can increase the performance (e.g. sprint speed) of their offspring is by prolonging pregnancy (beyond that required for complete development). However, to date studies examining this potentially important maternal effect have been largely descriptive. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
The skink Egernia whitii is an ideal candidate species to examine the consequences of delayed parturition on the performance of offspring as it routinely gives birth asynchronously despite synchronous offspring development. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
Using correlative data from a natural population and experimental manipulations of birthing asynchrony, we tested the prediction that, within litters, last born offspring have a better locomotor performance than first born offspring. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
We show that prolonged pregnancy does significantly influence average offspring locomotor performance; however, contrary to predictions, the direction of this effect is dependent on gestation length and thus offspring date of birth. Last born offspring had significantly poorer performance than first born offspring in litters early in the season with this pattern reversed late in the season. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
These results do not support the hypothesis that prolonged retention of fully formed offspring consistently increases offspring performance; however, they may help us understand the asymmetries in offspring competitive ability generated by birthing asynchrony.},
  author       = {While, Geoffrey M. and Uller, Tobias and Wapstra, Erik},
  issn         = {1365-2435},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {818--825},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Functional Ecology},
  title        = {Offspring performance and the adaptive benefits of prolonged pregnancy: experimental tests in a viviparous lizard},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2435.2009.01544.x},
  volume       = {23},
  year         = {2009},
}