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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Jan 20;95(2):600-5.

Natal dispersal and senescence.

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  • 1Institut des Sciences de L'Evolution, Université de Montpellier II, France.


The potential existence of natal dispersal strategies depending on parental age has been suggested by Hamilton and May [Hamilton, W. D. & May, R. M. (1977) Nature 269, 578-581] for organisms whose survival rates decline with age. When competition between parent and offspring is strong, any individual should disperse a smaller fraction of its offspring when it ages. Here, we verify their verbal prediction. First, we determine the evolutionarily stable dispersal strategy conditional on parental age, associated with a particular senescence curve. We show that such a conditional dispersal strategy should evolve independently from the genotype controlling the offspring dispersal behavior. Second, studying a population of common lizards, we provide empirical evidence of a relation between dispersal of female offspring and maternal senescence, in agreement with our theoretical predictions.

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