Cannibalism is widespread among many different organisms, and can have bath negative and positive fitness consequences. Avoiding eating relatives can minimize negative fitness consequences of cannibalism Such avoidance requires kin discrimination; but evidence for this ability among cannibals is Limited with little data that address the cues used in such discrimination. We examined whether larvae of the ladybird beetle Harmonia axyridis avoid eating their relatives. We further manipulated environmental factors to.,create individuals that had similar or dissimilar rearing environments to begin to test for endogenous versus exogenous recognition cues. Zn our experiments, third-instar larvae were much less likely to cannibalize if they were interacting with a relative. Larvae; that did cannibalize kin required more:encounters, and significantly delayed cannibalism, compared to larvae cannibalizing unrelated individuals. Acquired cues were less important. Even though the different rearing environment resulted in: significantly different phenotypic effects, similarity or dissimilarity of, rearing environment had no effect on cannibalism, and there was no interaction between environments and relatedness in cannibalism. We suggest that H. axyridis has a well-developed kin discrimination system, and that kin recognition in this ladybird beetle is based on endogenous rather than exogenous cues. We also argue that these cues reflect either direct or indirect genetic effects on larval phenotypes.
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