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“虎毒食子”——记埋葬甲

[日期:2013-12-18]   来源:广西昆虫馆  作者:广西昆虫馆   阅读:774次[字体: ]

    埋葬虫又叫锤角甲虫,体型外观变化大,平均体长约为1.2厘米。身体扁平而柔软,适合于在动物的尸体下面爬行。绝大部分埋葬虫以动物腐烂尸体为食,把它们转化成在生态系统中更容易进行循环的物质,像是自然界里的清道夫,起着净化自然环境的作用。

    埋葬虫通常将卵产在老鼠或鸟类的尸体等类似东西中。当幼虫被孵化出来后,四处爬行的父母会将消化的腐肉反哺入后代饥饿的口中(如图所示)。幼虫则通过用肢体戳父母的口器,以乞求得到更多的呕吐物。研究人员想知道,幼虫始终在乞求食物,还是仅在真正饥饿时才会有要求?一项新研究显示,真实情况无疑是后者。

    该研究小组发现,这种乞求行为伴随着一个重大的风险:嗜食同类。研究人员在近日出版的《行为生态学》期刊上报告称,当纠缠使母虫厌烦时,它们很可能会吃掉幼虫。这就意味着幼虫可能不会乞求食物,除非它们真的饿了。

Abstract

Understanding the behavioral mechanisms mediating the resolution of parent–offspring conflict is an important challenge given that the resolution of this conflict shapes the transfer of resources from parents to offspring. Three alternative models suggest that offspring begging provides an important behavioral mechanism for conflict resolution: honest signaling, scramble competition, and cost-free signaling models. However, there has so far been little progress in testing between these models because they share the same predictions. Here, we test between these models by focusing on their contrasting assumptions concerning who controls resource allocation and whether begging is costly in 2 experiments conducted on the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides. In Experiment 1, we manipulated the degree to which offspring and parents can control resource allocation by presenting broods with age-based competitive asymmetries with a live or a dead female parent. We found that seniors (i.e., older larvae) gained more access to the parent’s mouthparts than juniors only when presented with a live parent. In Experiment 2, we provided parents with broods of 60 newly hatched larvae and found that larvae were more likely to become a target of filial cannibalism when begging than would be expected if parents targeted larvae irrespective of their behavior. These findings suggest that offspring begging increases the parents’ influence over food allocation and that begging is costly by increasing the offspring’s risk of being a target of filial cannibalism. Our results support the assumptions of honest signaling models for the resolution of parent–offspring conflict.

 

相关链接 

《行为生态学》发表论文摘要(英文)

来源:《Behavioral Ecology

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