Paternal attractiveness and the effects of differential allocation of parental investment

Arnold, K. E., Gilbert, L. , Gorman, H. E., Griffiths, K. J., Adam, A. and Nager, R. (2016) Paternal attractiveness and the effects of differential allocation of parental investment. Animal Behaviour, 113, pp. 69-78. (doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2015.12.013)

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The differential allocation hypothesis (DAH) predicts that an individual should vary its reproductive investment according to the attractiveness of its mate. A recently revised version of the DAH makes explicit that investment can be positive, i.e. higher for the offspring of attractive males which should be of higher quality, or negative, i.e. higher for offspring of unattractive males, for example compensating for inheriting poor paternal genes. Moreover, investment can be made by the father and the mother. Here, we tested whether experimental manipulation of male attractiveness affected parental investment at different reproductive stages and thus influenced fitness-related traits in offspring. In two aviaries, all male zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata, were given red leg rings to increase attractiveness and in two aviaries all males received green leg rings to decrease attractiveness. This controlled for assortative mating between treatments. Ring colour was merely an experimental manipulation of male attractiveness, not paternal quality, so we might expect additional investment to elevate offspring quality. Eggs were cross-fostered between and within treatments to allow differentiation of effects of investment in eggs and nestlings. Clutch and brood sizes were standardized. Both positive and negative investment were observed: Eggs from red-ringed fathers had higher yolk to albumen ratios than eggs from greenringed fathers. Nestlings from eggs laid and incubated by parents in the red-ringed group had higher hatching masses than those in the green-ringed group. Both parents in the green-ringed group fed nestlings more frequently than red-ringed parents. Offspring performance was influenced by the treatment of both foster and biological parents, but combined effects of these different investment patterns on fitness-related traits were ambiguous. Male attractiveness appeared to affect patterns of reproductive investment but not consistently across all forms of reproductive investment suggesting that the costs and benefits of differential allocation vary among individuals and across contexts.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:H.E.G. was funded by a studentship from the Natural Environment Research Council. K.E.A. was funded by a Royal Society University Research Fellowship.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Adam, Ms Aileen and Griffiths, Mrs Kate and Gilbert, Dr Lucy and Arnold, Dr Kathryn and Nager, Dr Ruedi
Authors: Arnold, K. E., Gilbert, L., Gorman, H. E., Griffiths, K. J., Adam, A., and Nager, R.
Subjects:Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Animal Behaviour
ISSN (Online):1095-8282
Published Online:25 January 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
First Published:First published in Animal Behaviour 113:69-78
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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