International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI2018), August 5-10, 2018 in Guarujá, Brazil.

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Determinants of the fecundity-longevity association in social and non-social insects

Author(s):
Jenny Louise Donelan, Jenny Louise Donelan , David Henry Collins , David Charles Prince , Tracey Chapman , Andrew Frederick George Bourke
Institution(s):
School of Biological Sciences, The University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom; School of Biological Sciences, The University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom ; School of Biological Sciences, The University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom ; School of Biological Sciences, The University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom ; School of Biological Sciences, The University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom ; School of Biological Sciences, The University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom
In most organisms there is a negative association between fecundity and longevity. This is hypothesized to arise from a trade-off whereby individuals receive limited lifetime resources and must therefore compromise between increasing reproduction and increasing longevity, so leading to reproduction having survival costs. In eusocial insects the longest-lived individuals (queens) are also the most reproductive, implying that the fecundity-longevity trade-off has been reversed and that costs of reproduction are lacking. However, it is also possible that, as suggested for non-social organisms, unequal resourcing leads to better-provisioned individuals being both more reproductive and longer-lived, such that there is no fundamental reversal of the fecundity-longevity trade-off. In the eusocial bumble bee, Bombus terrestris, workers exhibit a positive association between fecundity and longevity when they are free to activate their ovaries in whole colonies, but a negative one when reproduction is experimentally induced in randomly-selected workers (Blacher et al. 2017). We therefore hypothesized that both queen and ovary-active worker B. terrestris show a positive fecundity-longevity association because they are better provisioned as larvae. To investigate the generality of such a phenomenon, we tested whether, in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, a negative fecundity-longevity association can be reversed by manipulating the quality of larval diets. We reared D. melanogaster on different quality larval diets and recorded their reproduction and longevity as adults. Our preliminary results suggest that larvae fed a higher quality diet showed a flat or even a positive fecundity-longevity relationship whereas larvae fed a standard diet showed the usual negative fecundity-longevity relationship. This suggests that the sign of the fecundity-longevity association is indeed sensitive to larval nutrition and our experiments are ongoing to explore this further.
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