1. The costs and benefits of behavioural care of offspring can often be easily quantified through observations and experiments. Other forms of parental investment, on the other hand, are usually less amenable to cost–benefit analysis.
2. Here, the costs and benefits are estimated for protective egg coating by a chrysomelid beetle, Cryptocephalus hypochaeridis, where the female spends a considerable amount of time adding extra structural components to each of the eggs after laying them.
3. Adding this protective coating was very costly, both in terms of material and energy used: the mass of the extrachorion is equivalent to half the mass of the egg, and water loss and energy expenditure while coating the egg is equivalent to half what would be lost while laying a further egg.
4. Choice tests with egg predators demonstrated that these high costs are offset by benefits in terms of protection against predation: whereas uncoated eggs are readily eaten by predators, coated eggs are always rejected.
|Translated title of the contribution||Quantifying the costs and benefits of protective egg coating in a Chrysomelid beetle|
|Pages (from-to)||484 - 487|
|Number of pages||4|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2008|