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Sibling rivalry is not just commonplace in human families, but in beetles too.
A new study suggests young beetles of the common sexton beetle (Nicrophorus vespilloides) compete with each other when it comes to receiving care from their parents.
Team - Researchers - Darren - Rebar - Emporia
A team of researchers, led by Darren Rebar, from Emporia State University in Kansas in the US, studied 22 generations of the burying beetle to find out more about family interactions within the species.
These insects are seen as 'the undertakers of the animal world' as they bury dead and decaying animals, such as mice and small birds, and, even more gruesomely, feed on their corpses.
Care-giving - Beetle - Populations - Parents - Larvae
Parental care-giving can vary among sexton beetle populations, with some parents continuing to tend to their young until they reach the larvae stage, while others leave shortly after laying eggs.
In two of the experiments, the authors separated the parents from their brood to examine their behaviour.
Beetle - Siblings - Parents - Towards - Care
They found young beetle siblings which were cared for by their parents were more competitive towards each other, while those which received no care appeared to be more co-operative.
Generally, when parents provide care, a behavioural response in multiple species is to exhibit greater levels of competition for the resource that adults provide – in the form of movements towards the parent, for example, or aggression to their sibling rivals.
'siblicide - Killing - Sibling - ? - Offspring
This can sometimes result in 'siblicide' – the killing of an infant sibling – which can actually benefit the surviving offspring and the parents.
After 22 generations, the authors created mixed broods of newly hatched...
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