Predation risk shapes the degree of placentation in natural populations of live-bearing fish

Andres Hagmayer, Andrew I. Furness, David N. Reznick, Myrthe L. Dekker & Bart J. A. Pollux
The placenta is a complex life-history trait that is ubiquitous across the tree of life. Theory proposes that the placenta evolves in response to high performance-demanding conditions by shifting maternal investment from pre- to post-fertilization, thereby reducing a female’s reproductive burden during pregnancy. We test this hypothesis by studying populations of the fish species Poeciliopsis retropinna in Costa Rica. We found substantial variation in the degree of placentation among natural populations associated with predation risk:...
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