Evolution of life-history traits in geographically isolated populations of Vaejovis scorpions (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae).

on November 5, 2013 in Online Arachnid Publications, Recent News, Scorpions in North America



Geographical isolation can over time accumulate life-history variation which can eventually lead to speciation. We used five species ofVaejovis scorpions that have been isolated from one another since the Pleistocene glaciation to identify if biogeographical patterns have allowed for the accumulation of life-history variation among species. Gravid females were captured and brought back to the lab until giving birth. Once offspring had begun to disperse, measurements of female size, reproductive investment, offspring size, offspring number, and variation in offspring size were recorded. Differences in how each species allocated energy to these variables were analysed utilizing path analysis and structural equation modelling. Female and offspring size, litter size, and total litter mass differed among species, but relative energetic investment did not. Most significant differences among species were not present after removing the effect of female size, indicating that female size is a major source of life-history variation. Path analyses indicated that there was no size–number trade-off within any species and that each species allocates energy toward total litter mass differently. Additionally, as offspring size increased, the variation in offspring mass decreased. These results show that each species allocates the same relative amount of energy in different ways. The variation seen could be a response to environmental variability or uncertainty, a product of maternal effects, or caused by the sufficient accumulation of genetic differences due to geographical isolation. © 2013 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2013, ●●, ●●–●●.



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