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Experimental demonstration of a trade-off between mate attraction and paternal care

Smith, Henrik G. LU (1995) In Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 260. p.45-51
Abstract
Males should invest in mate attraction, mate guarding and paternal care in relation to the marginal fitness value of each of those behaviours. Since time and energy are limited, trade-offs between these activities are expected. This study demonstrates that monogamous male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) decrease their paternal effort in response to increased opportunities to attract additional mates and instead invest in mate attraction. Monogamous males' probabilities of attracting additional females were increased by providing them with additional nestboxes. This resulted in both the rate at which males were visited by prospecting females and the probability that they would obtain secondary mates increasing. Males with an... (More)
Males should invest in mate attraction, mate guarding and paternal care in relation to the marginal fitness value of each of those behaviours. Since time and energy are limited, trade-offs between these activities are expected. This study demonstrates that monogamous male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) decrease their paternal effort in response to increased opportunities to attract additional mates and instead invest in mate attraction. Monogamous males' probabilities of attracting additional females were increased by providing them with additional nestboxes. This resulted in both the rate at which males were visited by prospecting females and the probability that they would obtain secondary mates increasing. Males with an additional nestbox sang more than males with only one nestbox, both before laying and during incubation. Males with two nestboxes spent more time at their nest sites when their fertile females were away before, but not during, egg laying. The experiment affected how much males incubated during the early, but not during the late, part of the incubation period. This makes sense, because males can attract additional females mainly during the early part of the incubation period. Male feeding of nestlings was unaffected by the experiment. The fact that the potential to attract mates affects males' investment in parental care suggests that variation in this potential may contribute to the variation in paternal care between bird species. (Less)
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author
organization
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type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
volume
260
pages
45 - 51
publisher
Royal Society
external identifiers
  • scopus:0028844906
ISSN
1471-2954
DOI
10.1098/rspb.1995.0057
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
a700ad6a-9d04-42ae-a594-b98c389ac33b
date added to LUP
2017-07-11 09:32:55
date last changed
2017-08-14 15:56:23
@article{a700ad6a-9d04-42ae-a594-b98c389ac33b,
  abstract     = {Males should invest in mate attraction, mate guarding and paternal care in relation to the marginal fitness value of each of those behaviours. Since time and energy are limited, trade-offs between these activities are expected. This study demonstrates that monogamous male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) decrease their paternal effort in response to increased opportunities to attract additional mates and instead invest in mate attraction. Monogamous males' probabilities of attracting additional females were increased by providing them with additional nestboxes. This resulted in both the rate at which males were visited by prospecting females and the probability that they would obtain secondary mates increasing. Males with an additional nestbox sang more than males with only one nestbox, both before laying and during incubation. Males with two nestboxes spent more time at their nest sites when their fertile females were away before, but not during, egg laying. The experiment affected how much males incubated during the early, but not during the late, part of the incubation period. This makes sense, because males can attract additional females mainly during the early part of the incubation period. Male feeding of nestlings was unaffected by the experiment. The fact that the potential to attract mates affects males' investment in parental care suggests that variation in this potential may contribute to the variation in paternal care between bird species.},
  author       = {Smith, Henrik G.},
  issn         = {1471-2954},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {45--51},
  publisher    = {Royal Society},
  series       = {Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences},
  title        = {Experimental demonstration of a trade-off between mate attraction and paternal care},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.1995.0057 },
  volume       = {260},
  year         = {1995},
}