Presentation Title

Do larvae contribute to social immunity in a subsocial beetle?

Advisor Information

Claudia Rauter

Location

Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library

Presentation Type

Poster

Start Date

7-3-2014 9:00 AM

End Date

7-3-2014 12:00 PM

Abstract

Burying beetles (Nicrophorus spp.) compete with microbes over carrion as food resource. Carrion with its high nutrient content represents a resource of high quality and competition over carrion between invertebrate scavengers and microbes is intense. To outcompete microbes, adult burying beetles secrete oral and anal fluids with antimicrobial properties. The secretion of antimicrobial fluids benefits not only the beetle secreting the antimicrobial compounds, but also its larvae reared on the carrion by increasing the survival of the larvae. While oral and anal secretions of adult beetles are intensively investigated, little is known about larval secretions. The purpose of my research was to determine whether the larval secretions of the prairie species N. marginatus have antimicrobial properties and whether the antimicrobial properties of the larval secretions change with larval age. Further, I investigated whether larvae reared without parents produce secretions with stronger antimicrobial properties than larvae reared by a female beetle producing antimicrobial secretions. I assumed that the production of antimicrobial secretions is costly for larvae and that the larvae would therefore reduce these costs in the presence of a parent.

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Mar 7th, 9:00 AM Mar 7th, 12:00 PM

Do larvae contribute to social immunity in a subsocial beetle?

Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library

Burying beetles (Nicrophorus spp.) compete with microbes over carrion as food resource. Carrion with its high nutrient content represents a resource of high quality and competition over carrion between invertebrate scavengers and microbes is intense. To outcompete microbes, adult burying beetles secrete oral and anal fluids with antimicrobial properties. The secretion of antimicrobial fluids benefits not only the beetle secreting the antimicrobial compounds, but also its larvae reared on the carrion by increasing the survival of the larvae. While oral and anal secretions of adult beetles are intensively investigated, little is known about larval secretions. The purpose of my research was to determine whether the larval secretions of the prairie species N. marginatus have antimicrobial properties and whether the antimicrobial properties of the larval secretions change with larval age. Further, I investigated whether larvae reared without parents produce secretions with stronger antimicrobial properties than larvae reared by a female beetle producing antimicrobial secretions. I assumed that the production of antimicrobial secretions is costly for larvae and that the larvae would therefore reduce these costs in the presence of a parent.