Age-specific reproductive investment and offspring performance in an orb-web spider, Argiope radon

Mohammad Ameri*, Darrell J. Kemp, Katherine L. Barry, Marie E. Herberstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Temporal variation in reproductive investment, e.g. maternal egg provisioning, has a substantial effect on offspring fitness therefore has received great attention by evolutionary biologists. Maternal allocation into egg size and egg content directly influences performance of offspring in many taxa, but spiders have rarely been investigated in this regard. In this study, we investigate the temporal changes in maternal reproductive investment and offspring performance in an orb-web, Argiope radon. A group of male and female spiders were mated randomly in the laboratory. Female spiders were kept under standard condition until they laid egg sacs. For each egg sac, egg sac mass, egg size and egg protein content were measured across all egg sacs. Once the spiderlings emerged, emerging time and toleration to starvation of the spiderlings were recorded. Egg sacs laid early in life were heavier, have larger eggs and offspring emerge sooner than the egg sacs laid by the old females. The spiderlings from the early egg sacs were more likely to emerge, however, these offspring had less toleration to starvation than the egg sacs laid by old females. There was no significant correlation between egg size and egg protein content with offspring performance. The results showed how the female spiders strategically allocate resources to egg sacs and its consequences on the offspring emerging time and toleration to starvation. This study suggests an adaptive maternal reproductive investment strategy which allows the female spiders to gain maximum fitness in each reproductive bout.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-215
Number of pages9
JournalEvolutionary Biology
Volume46
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

Keywords

  • maternal effects
  • egg size
  • egg provision
  • offspring performance

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