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Care and parentage in a skin-feeding Caecilian amphibian

Jehle, R, Kupfer, A, Gower, DJ, Muller, H and Wilkinson, M 2008, 'Care and parentage in a skin-feeding Caecilian amphibian' , Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Comparative Experimental Biology, 309A , pp. 460-467.

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Abstract

An exceptional form of parental care has recently been discovered in a poorly known caecilian amphibian. Mothers of the Taita Hills (Kenya) endemic Boulengerula taitanus provide their own skin as a food source for their offspring. Field data suggest that nursing is costly. Females found attending young had a lower body condition and fat body volume than nonbrooding and egg-incubating females, and the female condition decreased substantially during parental care. Most mothers and their eggs or offspring were found in close proximity to other nesting females, in high-density nest sites that enhance the potential for social interactions and highlighting the possibility of communal breeding. Parentage was investigated using Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) genetic markers in 29 offspring from six litters guarded by putative mothers. Our data provide the first evidence of multiple paternity in a caecilian, implying that two fathers sired one litter. Some young from two litters had genotypes not matching the guarding female suggesting that not all offspring are cared for by their biological mothers. This study provides evidence for alloparenting in an amphibian with cost-intensive parental care

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > Q Science > QL Zoology
Subjects / Themes > Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology
Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Comparative Experimental Biology
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1548-8969
Depositing User: Users 29196 not found.
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2009 10:46
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 16:00
URI: http://usir.eprints.org/id/eprint/2389

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