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Offspring recognition and the influence of clutch size on nest fostering among male sand gobies
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
2010 (English)In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, ISSN 0340-5443, E-ISSN 1432-0762, Vol. 64, no 8, 1325-1331 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

When parental care is costly, parents should avoid caring for unrelated young. Therefore, it is an advantage to discriminate between related and unrelated offspring so that parents can make informed decisions about parental care. In the present study, we test the hypothesis that male sand gobies (Pomatoschistus minutus) recognize and differentially care for their own offspring when given a choice between a nest with sired eggs and a second nest with eggs sired by an unrelated male. The sand goby is a species with exclusive and costly paternal care. Male parasitic spawnings (e.g., sneaking) as well as nest takeovers by other males are common. Our results show that nests containing sired eggs were preferred and received significantly more care, as measured by nest building and nest occupancy, than nests with foreign eggs even when males cared for both nests. These findings suggest that males respond to paternity cues and recognize their own clutches. Relative clutch size also had a significant effect on male parental care. When sired clutches were larger than foreign clutches, males preferred to care for their own nest. In the few cases where males chose to take care of foreign nests, the foreign clutch was larger than their own clutch. Taken together, our results provide evidence that both paternity cues and clutch size influence parenting decisions among male sand gobies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Heidelberg: Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2010. Vol. 64, no 8, 1325-1331 p.
Keyword [en]
certainty of paternity, filial cannibalism, nest choice, arental care, paternity assurance, sperm competition
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URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-34447DOI: 10.1007/s00265-010-0947-7ISI: 000280064000013OAI: diva2:321785
Available from: 2010-06-02 Created: 2010-06-02 Last updated: 2012-08-09Bibliographically approved

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Mobley, Kenyon B
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Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences
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