Separation between maternal and paternal effects on offspring following exposure of adult red flour beetles to two stressors

Tomer Gilad, Inon Scharf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1. The contribution of non-genetic maternal effects to offspring performance is well established and the evidence for paternal effects has also been increasing recently. Studies determining the relative contributions of the two parents to offspring success are, however, still rare. 2. In this study, two stressors were applied to adult red flour beetles (Tribolium castaneum) – starvation and cold stress – and a full-factorial design was used to distinguish between maternal and paternal reproductive decisions and their effects on the offspring. 3. Starvation had a stronger negative effect than cold stress on both males and females, and the likelihood of starved females producing offspring was very low. Furthermore, starved fathers led to lower offspring mass at the larval stage, probably leading to impaired starvation tolerance of the offspring. 4. Cold-stressed fathers were less likely than unstressed fathers to reproduce, whereas cold-stressed mothers demonstrated a similar effect by producing fewer offspring. 5. Applying stress probably led to energy saving that came at the expense of reproduction intensity. It is suggested that the smaller offspring mass is a negative consequence of the parental exposure to stress. 6. The differences between the consequences of the two stressors applied and between the relative contribution of each parent could perhaps be explained by the distinct physiological responses of each sex to each of the stressors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-501
Number of pages8
JournalEcological Entomology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • Clutch size
  • Tribolium castaneum
  • cold shock
  • life-history trade-offs
  • parental effects
  • phenotypic plasticity
  • starvation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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