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Brood size and fitness in Nicrophorus vespilloides (Coleoptera: Silphidae)

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Using a laboratory population of the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides (Coleoptera: Silphidae) the effects of body size on fighting ability and reproductive capacity were studied. The outcome of fights for corpses was found to depend on body size and was not related to order of arrival at a corpse. The size of a single clutche on a large corpse and the total of several clutches on a sequence of corpses increased with increasing female size. Larval weight and subsequent adult size for larvae raised on 10 g and 30 g mice were compared. Broods are culled on the smaller mice and light larvae eclose as relatively large adults for their weight; however larvae and adults from small corpses were still lighter and smaller than larvae and adults from 30 g corpses.

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Bartlett, J., Ashworth, C.M. Brood size and fitness in Nicrophorus vespilloides (Coleoptera: Silphidae). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 22, 429–434 (1988).

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