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Fluctuating food resources influence developmental plasticity in wild boar

Abstract : To maximize long-term average reproductive success, individuals can diversify the phenotypes of offspring produced within a reproductive event by displaying the 'coin-flipping' tactic. Wild boar (Sus scrofa scrofa) females have been reported to adopt this tactic. However, whether the magnitude of developmental plasticity within a litter depends on stochasticity in food resources has not been yet investigated. From long-term monitoring, we found that juvenile females produced similar-sized fetuses within a litter independent of food availability. By contrast, adult females adjusted their relative allocation to littermates to the amount of food resources, by providing a similar allocation to all littermates in years of poor food resources but producing highly diversified offspring phenotypes within a litter in years of abundant food resources. By minimizing sibling rivalry, such a plastic reproductive tactic allows adult wild boar females to maximize the number of littermates for a given breeding event.
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Marlène Gamelon, M. Douhard, E. Baubet, O. Gimenez, S. Brandt, et al.. Fluctuating food resources influence developmental plasticity in wild boar. Biology Letters, Royal Society, The, 2013, 9 (5), pp.20130419. ⟨10.1098/rsbl.2013.0419⟩. ⟨hal-01887871⟩



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