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Maternal effects impact decision-making in a viviparous lizard

Munch, KL, Noble, DWA, Botterill-James, TE ORCID: 0000-0002-6186-5871, Koolhof, IS ORCID: 0000-0002-9923-7416, Halliwell, B, Wapstra, E ORCID: 0000-0002-2050-8026 and While, GM ORCID: 0000-0001-8122-9322 2018 , 'Maternal effects impact decision-making in a viviparous lizard' , Biology Letters, vol. 14, no. 4 , pp. 1-4 , doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2017.0556.

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Abstract

Stressful conditions experienced during early development can have deleterious effects on offspring morphology, physiology and behaviour. However, few studies have examined how developmental stress influences an individual’s cognitive phenotype. Using a viviparous lizard, we show that the availability of food resources to a mother during gestation influences a key component of her offspring’s cognitive phenotype: their decision-making. Offspring from females who experienced low resource availability during gestation did better in an anti-predatory task that relied on spatial associations to guide their decisions, whereas offspring from females who experienced high resource availability during gestation did better in a foraging task that relied on colour associations to inform their decisions. This shows that the prenatal environment can influence decision-making in animals, a cognitive trait with functional implications later in life.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Munch, KL and Noble, DWA and Botterill-James, TE and Koolhof, IS and Halliwell, B and Wapstra, E and While, GM
Keywords: cognition, developmental stress, information bias, ontogeny, diet, reptiles
Journal or Publication Title: Biology Letters
Publisher: The Royal Society Publishing
ISSN: 1744-9561
DOI / ID Number: 10.1098/rsbl.2017.0556
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2018 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society

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