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Parental investment a prospective analysis


, : Parental investment a prospective analysis. Animal Behaviour 25(1): 1-9

It is a feature of the 3 described models that 2 alternative strategies are often possible; the duck strategy in which the male deserts and only the female cares for the young, and the stickleback strategy in which only the male cares for the young. These 2 possibilities are likely if one parent is almost as effective as 2 in caring for the young, and if the prospects of a deserting parent mating again are good. In those species in which the strategy is for 1 parent to desert, it well tend to be the male which cares for the young if the female has invested so much in eggs that she cannot effectively do so, or if there is an excess of males; it will tend to be the female which cares for the young if the timing of mating is such that a deserting male has a better chance of re-mating than a deserting female, or if there is an excess of females. In contrast, if 2 parents can raise twice as many offspring as 1, or if the chance that a deserting parent will remate is small, then monogamy with both parents caring for the young is the likely strategy. The strategies observed in different vertebrate groups are reviewed. Some features which are comprehensible in terms of the analysis and some which are unexplained are indicated. In many groups of vertebrates uniparental care of the young is found in species in which the parent guards but does not feed the young. This is as expected, and a plausible explanation can be offered for some of the exceptions (e.g., geese). It is by no means so clear what determines which sex shall care for the young. In a sense, this is also expected, since theory predicts that in many cases either the duck or the stickleback strategy could be stable, so that the actual state of affairs now depends on the initial conditions in an ancestral species.

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Accession: 006063812

DOI: 10.1016/0003-3472(77)90062-8

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