Local Competition Between Foraging Relatives: Growth and Survival of Bruchid Beetle Larvae.
Journal of Insect Behavior
© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008. This is an open access article.
Kin selection theory states that when resources are limited and all else is equal, individuals will direct competition away from kin. However, when competition between relatives is completely local, as is the case in granivorous insects whose larval stages spend their lives within a single seed, this can reduce or even negate the kin-selected benefits. Instead, an increase in competition may have the same detrimental effects on individuals that forage with kin as those that forage with non-kin. In a factorial experiment we assessed the effects of relatedness and competition over food on the survival and on fitness-related traits of the bruchid beetle Callosobruchus maculatus. Relatedness of competitors did not affect the survival of larvae. Larval survival substantially decreased with increasing larval density, and we found evidence that beetles maturing at a larger size were more adversely affected by competition, resulting in lower survival rates. Furthermore, females showed a reduction in their growth rate with increasing larval density, emerging smaller after the same development time. Males increased their growth rate, emerging earlier but at a similar size when food was more limited. Our results add to the growing number of studies that fail to show a relationship between relatedness and a reduction in competition between relatives in closed systems, and emphasize the importance of the scale at which competition between relatives occurs.
The authors would like to thank Bill Kunin for discussion and comments and Nick Colegrave for identifying the provenance of our beetles. IMS was supported by a PHD20 Marie Curie fellowship.
This is the final version of the article. Available from Springer Verlag via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 21, Iss. 5, pp. 375 - 386
Place of publication