Experimental evolution of a more restrained clutch size when filial cannibalism is prevented in burying beetles Nicrophorus vespilloides

Darren Rebar, Chay Halliwell, Rachel Kemp & Rebecca Kilner
The over-production of offspring is commonly associated with high hatching failure and a mechanism for dispensing with surplus young. We used experimental evolution of burying beetle populations Nicrophorus vespilloides to determine causality in these correlations. We asked: does eliminating the mechanism for killing ‘spare’ offspring cause the evolution of a more restrained clutch size, and consequently select for reduced hatching failure? N. vespilloides typically over-produces eggs but kills 1st instar larvae through partial filial cannibalism...
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