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Evidence of paternal nutrient provisioning to embryos in broad-nosed pipefish Syngnathus typhle

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In two experiments, radioactively labelled nutrients (either 3H-labelled amino-acid mixture or 14C-labelled glucose) were tube-fed to brooding male Syngnathus typhle. Both nutrients were taken up by the males and radioactivity generally increased in the brood pouch tissue with time. Furthermore, a low but significant increase of 3H-labelled amino acids in embryos was found over the experimental interval (48 h), whereas in the 14C-glucose experiment the radioactivity was taken up by the embryos but did not increase over the experimental time (320 min). Uptake of radioisotopes per embryo did not differ with embryo size. A higher uptake mg−1 tissue of both 3H-labelled amino acids and 14C-labelled glucose was found in smaller embryos, possibly due to a higher relative metabolic rate or to a higher surface-area-to-volume ratio compared to larger embryos. Uptake in embryos was not influenced by male size, embryonic developmental advancement or position in the brood pouch. It is concluded that brooding males provide amino acids, and probably also glucose, to the developing embryos in the brood pouch.
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Keywords: Syngnathidae; feeding of offspring; paternal care; radiolabelled amino acids and glucose; viviparity

Document Type: Editorial

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, 3258 Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-3258, U.S.A. 2: Department of Ecology and Genetics, Uppsala University, Nobyvägen 18D, SE-75236 Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: 2011-06-01

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