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Fitness differences between parthenogenetic litters of the synanthropic scorpion Tityus stigmurus (Scorpiones: Buthidae)

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posted on 2022-10-10, 08:01 authored by Welton Dionisio-da-Silva, Cleide M.R. Albuquerque, André F.A. Lira

Clonal lineages in similar environments may be influenced by non-Mendelian inheritance, such as maternal age effects and developmental instabilities. These mechanisms may affect the developmental fitness of parthenogenetic litters. In this study, the scorpion Tityus stigmurus (Thorell, 1876) was used to analyze the effects of non-Mendelian variation on parthenogenetic litters. A total of 75 juveniles from five females were reared under the same controlled conditions, while their development was observed and evaluated through differences in offspring fitness traits (litter size, prosoma size, developmental time, and mortality) between the litters. First and second litters had a similar litter size, although second litters exhibited longer developmental time in the early instar stages (second and third) than first litters. These results indicate that T. stigmurus females allocated nutrient resources to maximize litter size rather than developmental fitness in subsequent litters. Differences in developmental time found in early instars but not in late instars may have occurred as a result of stochastic developmental variations in young individuals. Such variation in duration of development has the potential to influence survival of juveniles in natural environments because individuals that grow faster may avoid large predators and consume larger prey, compared to those that do not. 

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