Paternity and the evolution of male parental care
ABSTRACT It is generally believed that level of paternity (the proportion of zygotes in a brood that were fertilized by the male providing parental care) has an important role in the evolution of parental care. We have used population genetics models to investigate this role. The models indicate that only in mating systems where a parental male “sacrifices” promiscous matings can paternity influence the evolution of male parental care. This is because level of paternity can reflect the number of opportunities for these promiscuous fertilizations. For example, high paternity can mean few opportunities and therefore a low cost for paternal care.Certain behaviors may preadapt a species for the evolution of male parental care because they decrease the costs of providing care. For example, in fish species where male care has evolved from spawning territories, the very establishment of territories may have precluded males from gaining promiscuous matings, thereby eliminating the promiscuity costs and facilitating the evolution of care. Without a promiscuity cost, level of paternity will not have influenced the evolution of male care in fishes.Because paternity has limited influence in the evolution of male care, differences in reliability of parentage between males and females are unlikely to explain the prevalence of female care. Our analysis suggests that paternity differences between species cannot serve as a general explanation for the observed patterns of parental care behavior.
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ABSTRACT: In socially monogamous species with bi-parental care, males suffer reduced reproductive success if their mate engages in extra-pair copulations (EPCs). One might therefore expect that males should refuse to care for a brood if they can detect that an EPC has occurred. Here, we use a game-theory model to study male brood care in the face of EPCs in a cooperatively breeding species in which offspring help to raise their (half-) siblings in their parents' next breeding attempt. We show that under certain conditions males are selected to care even for broods completely unrelated to themselves. This counterintuitive result arises through a form of pseudo-reciprocity, whereby surviving extra-pair offspring, when helping to rear their younger half-siblings, can more than compensate for the cost incurred by the male that raised them. We argue that similar effects may not be limited to cooperative breeders, but may arise in various contexts in which cooperation between (half-) siblings occurs.Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 03/2012; 279(1739):2877-82. · 5.68 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Explaining the evolution of male care has proved difficult. Recent theory predicts that female promiscuity and sexual selection on males inherently disfavour male care. In sharp contrast to these expectations, male-only care is often found in species with high extra-pair paternity and striking variation in mating success, where current theory predicts female-only care. Using a model that examines the coevolution of male care, female care and female choice; I show that inter-sexual selection can drive the evolution of male care when females are able to bias mating or paternity towards parental males. Surprisingly, female choice for parental males allows male care to evolve despite low relatedness between the male and the offspring in his care. These results imply that predicting how sexual selection affects parental care evolution will require further understanding of why females, in many species, either do not prefer or cannot favour males that provide care.Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 12/2011; 279(1734):1784-90. · 5.68 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The factors promoting the evolution of parental care strategies have been extensively studied in experiment and theory. However, most attempts to examine parental care in an evolutionary context have evaluated broad taxonomic categories. The explosive and recent diversifications of East African cichlid fishes offer exceptional opportunities to study the evolution of various life history traits based on species-level phylogenies. The Xenotilapia lineage within the endemic Lake Tanganyika cichlid tribe Ectodini comprises species that display either biparental or maternal only brood care and hence offers a unique opportunity to study the evolution of distinct parental care strategies in a phylogenetic framework. In order to reconstruct the evolutionary relationships among 16 species of this lineage we scored 2,478 Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms (AFLPs) across the genome. We find that the Ectodini genus Enantiopus is embedded within the genus Xenotilapia and that during 2.5 to 3 million years of evolution within the Xenotilapia clade there have been 3-5 transitions from maternal only to biparental care. While most previous models suggest that uniparental care (maternal or paternal) arose from biparental care, we conclude from our species-level analysis that the evolution of parental care strategies is not only remarkably fast, but much more labile than previously expected.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(2):e31236. · 3.73 Impact Factor