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Reproductive fitness consequences of progenesis: sex-specific payoffs in safe and risky environments.

08:00 EDT 30th March 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Reproductive fitness consequences of progenesis: sex-specific payoffs in safe and risky environments."

Progenesis is considered to have an important role in evolution because it allows the retention of both a larval body size and shape in an adult morphology. However, the cost caused by the adoption of a progenetic process in both males and females remains to be explored to explain the success of progenesis and particularly its biased prevalence across the sexes and environments. Here, through an experimental approach, we used a facultative progenetic species, the palmate newt (Lissotriton helveticus) that can either mature at a small size and retain gills or mature after metamorphosis, to test three hypotheses for sex-specific payoffs of progenesis in safe versus risky habitats. Goldfish were used because they caused a higher decline in progenetic than metamorphic newts. We determined that progenetic newts have a lower reproductive fitness than metamorphic newts. We also found that, when compared to metamorphs, progenetic males have lower reproductive activity than progenetic females and that predatory risk affects more progenetic than metamorphic newts. By identifying ultimate causes of the female-biased sex ratios found in nature, these results support the male escape hypothesis, i.e. the higher metamorphosis rate of progenetic males. They also highlight that although progenesis is advantageous in advancing the age at first reproduction, it also brings an immediate fitness cost and this, particularly, in hostile predatory environments. This means that whereas some environmental constraints could favour facultative progenesis, some others, such as predation, can ultimately counter-select progenesis. Altogether, these results improve our understanding of how developmental processes can affect the sexes differently and how species invasions can impair the success of alternative developmental phenotypes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Journal of evolutionary biology
ISSN: 1420-9101
Pages:

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