The ties that bind: Grand-parental qualities affect the lifespan of descendants. (#569)
Parental age and many other aspects of parental life-histories can greatly affect many aspects of offspring fitness through non-genetic inheritance of organismal and postmeiotic gametic senescence. Although many studies have documented the parental effect of age on offspring lifespan, few have examined the detectability of such an effect and its interaction with grand-parental condition to as far as the third generation. We carried out a large-scale demographic study to examine the effects of grandparental age, social environment, and condition on the lifespan of the third generation of the neriid fly Teleostylinus angusticollis. Quality of diet at the developmental stage of this species has been shown to affect both the magnitude and expression of condition-dependent traits such as size and shape, whereby rich and poor larval diets generally result in large and small adult morphs, respectively. This variation in individual condition is also sex-specific, particularly in respect to the exaggeration of secondary sexual traits in males which are used in intraspecific competition for access to females. To examine the effects of grandparental condition on offspring lifespan, the first generation was reared on either a ‘rich’ or ‘poor’ diet and subjected to either high or low competitive environments. Grandparental and parental age at time of reproduction was also manipulated to either ‘young’ (15 days) or ‘old’ (35 days). All offspring were separated into matri- and patrilines to control for sex-specific differences in lifespan. Preliminary results suggest that grandparental age at the time of reproduction can significantly affect the lifespan of grandoffspring, whereas, condition and social environment appear to have no detectable influence. These results suggest that both paternal and maternal age effects on progeny lifespan may persist through multiple generations having important implications for the evolutionary dynamics of life-history strategies and the evolution of ageing.