Paternal care decreases foraging activity and body condition, but does not impose survival costs to caring males in a neotropical arachnid

Gustavo S. Requena*, Bruno A. Buzatto, Eduardo G. Martins, Glauco Machado

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Exclusive paternal care is the rarest form of parental investment in nature and theory predicts that the maintenance of this behavior depends on the balance between costs and benefits to males. Our goal was to assess costs of paternal care in the harvestman Iporangaia pustulosa, for which the benefits of this behavior in terms of egg survival have already been demonstrated. We evaluated energetic costs and mortality risks associated to paternal egg-guarding in the field. We quantified foraging activity of males and estimated how their body condition is influenced by the duration of the caring period. Additionally, we conducted a one-year capture-mark-recapture study and estimated apparent survival probabilities of caring and non-caring males to assess potential survival costs of paternal care. Our results indicate that caring males forage less frequently than non-caring individuals (males and females) and that their body condition deteriorates over the course of the caring period. Thus, males willing to guard eggs may provide to females a fitness-enhancing gift of cost-free care of their offspring. Caring males, however, did not show lower survival probabilities when compared to both non-caring males and females. Reduction in mortality risks as a result of remaining stationary, combined with the benefits of improving egg survival, may have played an important and previously unsuspected role favoring the evolution of paternal care. Moreover, males exhibiting paternal care could also provide an honest signal of their quality as offspring defenders, and thus female preference for caring males could be responsible for maintaining the trait.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere46701
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume7
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2012. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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