Retarded senescence in an insular population of Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana)

S. N. Austad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

200 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Evolutionary senescence theory predicts that genetically isolated populations historically subjected to low rates of environmentally-imposed mortality will ultimately evolve senescence that is retarded in relation to that of populations historically subjected to higher mortality rates. This prediction was evaluated by comparing general measures of senescence in two Virginia opossum populations, one a mainland control and the other an insular population having a 4-5000 yr history of reduced exposure to predators. Insular female opossums were found to exhibit greater survivorship and reduced litter sizes at all ages, as well as slower acceleration of age-specific mortality. Island females in their second reproductive year failed to show the senescent reduction in pouch young growth rate seen in mainland animals. Island opossums also manifested slower "ageing' of tail tendon fibres, a generalized measure of physiological ageing. -from Author

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-708
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Zoology
Volume229
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

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Didelphis virginiana
senescence
mortality
opossums
litter size
isolated population
survivorship
pouches
tendons
predator
tail
animal
survival rate
history
prediction
predators
animals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Retarded senescence in an insular population of Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana). / Austad, S. N.

In: Journal of Zoology, Vol. 229, No. 4, 1993, p. 695-708.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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