What is it about?

Across animal species, ecology is associated with life span, body size and many other important traits. We show that metabolic rate is at the heart of these associations in insects, being affected by ecology and affecting many other traits. Our work places metabolic rate at the center of male and female reproduction and life histories.

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Why is it important?

Ever since Darwin, we have known that ecology is linked with the evolution of many male and female traits. Our work provides an explanation of why these associations appear. More broadly, we show that it is necessary to measure metabolic rate in order to understand why traits evolve along different routes in different species and in the sexes.

Perspectives

This work marks the end of an eight year long unique research effort, where we conducted four major experiments and extracted standardized data on 28 traits in 12 different beetle species. I am very happy that the results of our effort were illuminating, and I hope that our work will contribute to an increased attention to the central role that metabolic rate plays in evolution.

Göran Arnqvist
Uppsala Universitet

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This page is a summary of: Concerted evolution of metabolic rate, economics of mating, ecology, and pace of life across seed beetles, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2205564119.
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