oa African Zoology - Partial brood release in woodlice: a bethedging tactic?

Volume 29, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



In many organisms, including woodlice, juvenile mortality is unpredictable, hence female behaviours that result in a temporal spread of reproductive output would be favoured by natural selection. Observations of brood release in several species of woodlice revealed that approximately 7% of females released between two and 10 young up to 24 h in advance of their siblings. Although under laboratory conditions offspring fitness measures between precocious young and their siblings were not significantly different, the tactic of partial brood release is considered as a risk avoidance or 'bet-hedging' female behaviour not previously recorded in this specialized group of Crustacea.

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