Article: article from journal or magazin.
Fitness costs associated with building and maintaining the burying beetle's carrion nest.
It is well-known that features of animal nest architecture can be explained by fitness benefits gained by the offspring housed within. Here we focus on the little-tested suggestion that the fitness costs associated with building and maintaining a nest should additionally account for aspects of its architecture. Burying beetles prepare an edible nest for their young from a small vertebrate carcass, by ripping off any fur or feathers and rolling the flesh into a rounded ball. We found evidence that only larger beetles are able to construct rounder carcass nests, and that rounder carcass nests are associated with lower maintenance costs. Offspring success, however, was not explained by nest roundness. Our experiment thus provides rare support for the suggestion that construction and maintenance costs are key to understanding animal architecture.
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