Early social and ecological experience triggers divergent reproductive investment strategies in a cooperative breeder

By Antunes, Diogo F & B. Taborsky

Scientific Reports, v. 10 (10407): pp. 1-8 26-Jun-2020. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-67294-x


" Unlike eusocial systems, which are characterized by reproductive division of labour, cooperative breeders were predicted not to exhibit any reproductive specialization early in life. Nevertheless, also cooperative breeders face a major life-history decision between dispersal and independent breeding vs staying as helper on the natal territory, which might affect their reproductive strategies. In the cooperatively-breeding cichlid Neolamprologus pulcher early-life social and predator experiences induce two behavioural types differing in later-life social and dispersal behaviour. We performed a long-term breeding experiment to test whether the two early-life behavioural types differ in their reproductive investment. We found that the early-dispersing type laid fewer and smaller eggs, and thus invested overall less in reproduction, compared to the philopatric type. Thus N. pulcher had specialised already shortly after birth for a dispersal and reproductive strategy, which is in sharp contrast to the proposition that reproductively totipotent cooperative breeders should avoid reproductive specialization before adulthood "

Classification: Behavior, Lake Tanganyika.

Language: English

Antunes, Diogo F & B. Taborsky. 2020. "Early social and ecological experience triggers divergent reproductive investment strategies in a cooperative breeder". Scientific Reports. v. 10 (10407): pp. 1-8. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-67294-x (crc08146) (abstract)