CARCASS SCAVENGING RELAXES THE CHEMICAL-DRIVEN FEMALE INTERFERENCE COMPETITION IN FLOUR BEETLES [post]

Basabi Bagchi, Srijan Seal, Manasven Raina, Dipendra Basu, imroze khan
2020 unpublished
Female-female nonsexual interference competition is rapidly emerging as a major fitness determinant of biased sex-ratio groups with high female density. How do females overcome such competition? We used adult flour beetle Tribolium castaneum to answer this question, where females from female-biased groups suppressed each other's fecundity by secreting toxic quinones from their stink glands, revealing a chemical-driven interference competition. The added natal resource did not alleviate these
more » ... ness costs. Females also did not disperse more at high female-density. Hence, the competition was neither limited by the total resource availability nor the inability to avoid chemical interference. Instead, protein sequestered via scavenging of nutrient-rich carcasses relaxed the female competition, by increasing their fecundity and reducing the quinone content. Even infected carcasses were scavenged to extract fitness benefits, despite the infection-risk. Finally, individual stink gland components triggered carcass-scavenging to increase fecundity, indicating a potentially novel chemical feedback loop to reduce the competition.
doi:10.22541/au.159188483.30395591 fatcat:y2y7lv4utvefhluhgghztra32u