Paternal and maternal effects in a mosquito: A bridge for life history
Parental (transgenerational) effects occur when the conditions
experienced by a mother or father contribute to offspring phenotype.
Here we show that parental larval diet in mosquitoes, Aedes
aegypti, results in differential allocation of resources in offspring
of parents depending on the nutritional condition (quality) of their
mate. Maternal effects influenced the number of eggs produced by females
as well as their lipid investment. Low nutrient females mated with high
nutrient males laid eggs with significantly higher lipid content than
those laid by high nutrient females. Paternal effects showed that when
high nutrient males mated with low nutrient females, resulting eggs had
higher lipid content than when low nutrient males mated with low
nutrient females. Overall, our results are consistent with a pattern
predicted by the differential allocation of resources hypothesis, when
females experience nutritional deprivation, which asserts that mate
quality directly influences reproductive allocation.