Propagule size and parental care: the "safe harbor" hypothesis

Richard Shine*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Citations (Scopus)


Species that protect their offspring (by egg-brooding or live-bearing) produce larger (and hence fewer) propagules than do related species that do not protect their offspring. This result holds true in most animal groups showing parental care. Analysis of these data supports the hypothesis that propagule size evolves in response to relative survivorship rates during and after the propagule stage: natural selection is most likely to favor large egg size when the egg is a safe harbor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-424
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 1978
Externally publishedYes


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