Juvenile exposure to predator cues induces a larger egg size in fish

Segers FHID & Taborsky B (2012). Juvenile exposure to predator cues induces a larger egg size in fish. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 279 (1731): 1241-1248. DOI:10.1098/rspb.2011.1290.

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Abstract

When females anticipate a hazardous environment for their offspring, they can increase offspring survival by producing larger young. Early environmental experience determines egg size in different animal taxa. We predicted that a higher perceived predation risk by juveniles would cause an increase in the sizes of eggs that they produce as adults. To test this, we exposed juveniles of the mouthbrooding cichlid Eretmodus cyanostictus in a split-brood experiment either to cues of a natural predator or to a control situation. After maturation, females that had been confronted with predators produced heavier eggs, whereas clutch size itself was not affected by the treatment. This effect cannot be explained by a differential female body size because the predator treatment did not influence growth trajectories. The observed increase of egg mass is likely to be adaptive, as heavier eggs gave rise to larger young and in fish, juvenile predation risk drops sharply with increasing body size. This study provides the first evidence that predator cues perceived by females early in life positively affect egg mass, suggesting that these cues allow her to predict the predation risk for her offspring.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Early environment; Egg size; Fish; Maternal effects; Phenotypic plasticity; Predation
Research Programs: Evolution and Ecology (EEP)
Bibliographic Reference: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences; 279(1731):1241-1248 (22 March 2012) (Published online 5 October 2012)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:46
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2016 09:37
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/9983

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