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Parental Care. Patterns Why provide care? When should care be terminated? Who should receive care?. Insect parental care. Distribution of parental care in vertebrates. Teleost fishes = 21% of families show PC 61% have male parental care Amphibians = 71% show PC 50:50 maternal:paternal

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Parental Care


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    1. Parental Care • Patterns • Why provide care? • When should care be terminated? • Who should receive care?

    2. Insect parental care

    3. Distribution of parental care in vertebrates • Teleost fishes = 21% of families show PC • 61% have male parental care • Amphibians = 71% show PC • 50:50 maternal:paternal • Birds = 100% show PC • Usually biparental, sometimes one sex • Mammals = 100% show PC • Usually maternal, sometimes biparental

    4. Why male parental care? Randall’s jawfish

    5. Alternative hypotheses for providing care • Confidence of paternity • Expect parent with highest certainty to be parental • Order of gamete release • First to deposit gametes can desert • Association • Sex nearest to offspring when care is needed

    6. Parental care in fishes and frogs

    7. Parental care can cost females more than males Mouthbrooding results in weight loss due to reduction in feeding, and the cost of brood care is higher in females than males

    8. Alternative hypotheses for providing care: evidence • Confidence of paternity (fish and herps) • Internal fertilization - 86% maternal care • External fertilization - 70% paternal care • Order of gamete release • Simultaneous fertilization (most species) - 78% paternal • Other species - male deposits first, but doesn’t leave • Association • Territorial males have external fertilization

    9. How much care to invest? • Parental investment: “any investment by the parent in an individual offspring that increases the offspring’s chance of surviving at the cost of the parent’s ability to invest in other offspring (Trivers 1972) • Costs of parental care include • Reduced future survival • Reduced mating opportunities

    10. Parental investment changes

    11. Parental care detracts from future survival in willow tits

    12. Sex ratio influences male parental care A female-biased sex ratio increases the cost of brood care for males because parental care detracts from mating

    13. Parent-offspring conflict

    14. Parent-offspring conflict Wallaby conflict • Assume fixed total resource that can be used to feed offspring • Parents want to distribute resource equitably to all n offspring • Offspring want more than 1/n but not all since they are related to siblings • Difference between parent and offspring optimum increases as relatedness decreases

    15. C/2 Max. inclusive fitness for parent Max. inclusive fitness for offspring Parent-offspring conflict: how much care to provide Parent is equally related to all offspring, but offspring are less related to sibs than themselves. Assuming full siblings, i.e. r = 1/2 B - measured in +units of RS of current offspring C - measured in - units of RS of future offspring B C Benefit or cost to parent Level of parental investment

    16. Begging loudness increases as relatedness within nest decreases Brown-headed cowbird

    17. (Half-sibs) Parent-offspring conflict: time of weaning (Full-sibs)

    18. Parental investment and maternal age If reproductive value declines with maternal age, then older females should be willing to expend more on parental care

    19. Who should receive care? • Concorde fallacy: past investment should not determine future investment - only prospects for future success • Expect parents to use honest indicators of offspring quality to allocate care

    20. Chick color affects parental feeding in mixed broods of coots Control broods were unaltered (orange) or had orange feathers trimmed (black) Experimental broods had 1/2 orange, 1/2 black chicks Chick color likely indicates offspring health

    21. Parent intervention in siblicide Masked boobies tolerate higher rates of siblicide A chick excludes B chick MB = masked booby, BFB = blue-footed booby