Selective egg cannibalism in Sinella curviseta (Collembola: Entomobryidae)

  • Waldorf E
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Sinella curviseta eggs less than 24 hours of age are smooth; older
developing eggs are rough. An experiment was concluded to analyze
egg cannibalism in unisexual populations exposed to eggs on both
types. This experiment demonstrated that egg consumption (i) averaged
.03 eggs per animal per hour, (ii) occurs at a significantly higher
rate in females than in males, and (iii) is almost completely (99%)
confined to smooth eggs. As smooth eggs include very young eggs and
faulty eggs of any age, smooth eggs have a lower probability of reproductive
success than rough ones. Animals encounter in a clutch first smooth
eggs with less chance of hatching; later, smooth eggs with a still
probability of success (as more developing ones have become rough);
and finally, during the final 72% of the period of exposure to a
clutch, smooth eggs whose probability of hatching is effectively
zero. It is efficient resource utilization to ingest these eggs.

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  • Elizabeth Waldorf

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