Kin recognition by juvenile predatory mites

Author(s)
Peter Schausberger
Abstract

Kin recognition, the biased treatment of conspecific individuals based on genetic relatedness, is a widespread phenomenon in animals. The most common mechanisms mediating kin recognition are prior association (familiarity) and phenotype matching. Recognition based on prior association allows identifying familiar individuals. Recognition based on phenotype matching is an extension of prior-association-based recognition and allows identifying familiar and unfamiliar individuals due to a shared phenotypic trait. I investigated which of the two mechanisms is used by cannibalistic juvenile predatory mites, Phytoseiulus persimilis. Protonymphs that were associated with either siblings or non-kin discriminated familiar and unfamiliar larvae and preferentially cannibalized the latter irrespective of genetic relatedness. In contrast, despite previous association with either siblings or non-kin, protonymphs did not discriminate unfamiliar sibling and unfamiliar non-kin larvae. Association in the larval stage therefore mediated kin recognition based on familiarity, but not phenotype matching in cannibalistic P. persimilis protonymphs. Furthermore, in the presence of a familiar prey individual, sibling cannibalism occurred significantly sooner than non-kin cannibalism. This quick sibling cannibalism may have been the consequence of preferential association of siblings and/or may indicate the occurrence of an alternative cannibal phenotype. I discuss the adaptive significance of prior-association-based recognition for P. persimilis juveniles and emphasize the ability of P. persimilis to use multiple recognition mechanisms in dependence of the ontogeny and the ecological context.

Organisation(s)
External organisation(s)
Universität für Bodenkultur Wien
Journal
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Volume
62
Pages
119-125
No. of pages
7
ISSN
0340-5443
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-007-0444-9
Publication date
11-2007
Peer reviewed
Yes
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
106047 Animal ecology, 106051 Behavioural biology
Keywords
Portal url
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/en/publications/kin-recognition-by-juvenile-predatory-mites(1ba7f0c8-2928-4932-9bb3-6a9b4ee57f2b).html