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Brain size affects female but not male survival under predation threat
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Ethology. University of Veterinary Medicine, Austria.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Ethology. University of Veterinary Medicine, Austria.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Ethology.
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2015 (English)In: Ecology Letters, ISSN 1461-023X, E-ISSN 1461-0248, Vol. 18, no 7, 646-652 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is remarkable diversity in brain size among vertebrates, but surprisingly little is known about how ecological species interactions impact the evolution of brain size. Using guppies, artificially selected for large and small brains, we determined how brain size affects survival under predation threat in a naturalistic environment. We cohoused mixed groups of small- and large-brained individuals in six semi-natural streams with their natural predator, the pike cichlid, and monitored survival in weekly censuses over 5 months. We found that large-brained females had 13.5% higher survival compared to small-brained females, whereas the brain size had no discernible effect on male survival. We suggest that large-brained females have a cognitive advantage that allows them to better evade predation, whereas large-brained males are more colourful, which may counteract any potential benefits of brain size. Our study provides the first experimental evidence that trophic interactions can affect the evolution of brain size.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 18, no 7, 646-652 p.
Keyword [en]
Artificial selection, brain size, Crenicichla, guppy, pike cichlid, Poecilia reticulata, predation, semi natural, survival
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-117468DOI: 10.1111/ele.12441ISI: 000356606100005PubMedID: 25960088OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-117468DiVA: diva2:812613
Available from: 2015-05-19 Created: 2015-05-19 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved

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