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    Higher relatedness mitigates mortality in a nematode with lethal male fighting

    Kapranas, Apostolos and Maher, Abigail M.D. and Griffin, Christine (2015) Higher relatedness mitigates mortality in a nematode with lethal male fighting. Journal of Evolutionary Biiology, 29 (2). pp. 344-351. ISSN 1010-061X

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    According to kin selection theory, individuals show less aggression towards their relatives. Limited dispersal promotes interactions among relatives but also increases competition among them. The evolution of cooperation in viscous populations has been subject of mainly theoretical exploration. We investigated the influence of relatedness on aggression in males of entomopathogenic nematode Steinernema longicaudum that engage in lethal fighting. In a series of in vitro experiments, we found that both competitor male group size and relatedness influence male mortality rates. Higher relatedness led to progressively lower rates of male mortality. In experimentally infected insects, wherein large numbers of males and females interact, the proportion of dead and paralysed (= terminally injured) males was higher when infection was established by infective juveniles originating from a mixture of three lines than in those infected by a single line. The results collectively show that Steinernema longicaudum males recognize their kin and consequently male mortality rates are lower in groups consisting of more related males. Furthermore, this monotonic negative relationship between aggression and relatedness suggests that kin selection benefits are still substantial even under extreme competition. Our experiments also suggest that kin recognition in entomopathogenic nematodes has a genetic basis rather than being strictly based on environmental cues. We discuss our findings within the theoretical context of the evolution of altruistic/cooperative behaviour in structured populations.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: entomopathogenic nematode; kin recognition; relatedness; resource competition; Steinernema longicaudum; viscous populations;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Biology
    Item ID: 9102
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Dr. Christine Griffin
    Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2017 16:48
    Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Evolutionary Biiology
    Publisher: European Journal for Evolutionary Biology
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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