Early growth trajectories affect sexual responsiveness

Lee, W.-S., Metcalfe, N. B. , Reale, D. and Peres-Neto, P. R. (2014) Early growth trajectories affect sexual responsiveness. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 281(1777), p. 20132899. (doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2899)

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The trajectory of an animal's growth in early development has been shown to have long-term effects on a range of life-history traits. Although it is known that individual differences in behaviour may also be related to certain life-history traits, the linkage between early growth or development and individual variation in behaviour has received little attention. We used brief temperature manipulations, independent of food availability, to stimulate compensatory growth in juvenile three-spined sticklebacks Gasterosteus aculeatus. Here, we examine how these manipulated growth trajectories affected the sexual responsiveness of the male fish at the time of sexual maturation, explore associations between reproductive behaviour and investment and lifespan and test whether the perceived time stress (until the onset of the breeding season) influenced such trade-offs. We found a negative impact of growth rate on sexual responsiveness: fish induced (by temperature manipulation) to grow slowest prior to the breeding season were consistently quickest to respond to the presence of a gravid female. This speed of sexual responsiveness was also positively correlated with the rate of development of sexual ornaments and time taken to build a nest. However, after controlling for effects of growth rate, those males that had the greatest sexual responsiveness to females had the shortest lifespan. Moreover, the time available to compensate in size before the onset of the breeding season (time stress) affected the magnitude of these effects. Our results demonstrate that developmental perturbations in early life can influence mating behaviour, with long-term effects on longevity.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lee, Mr Who and Metcalfe, Professor Neil
Authors: Lee, W.-S., Metcalfe, N. B., Reale, D., and Peres-Neto, P. R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN (Online):1471-2954

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