Females allocate differentially to offspring size and number in response to male effects on female and offspring fitness

Holly K. Kindsvater, Suzanne H. Alonzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Female investment in offspring size and number has been observed to vary with the phenotype of their mate across diverse taxa. Recent theory motivated by these intriguing empirical patterns predicted both positive (differential allocation) and negative (reproductive compensation) effects of mating with a preferred male on female investment. These predictions, however, focused on total reproductive effort and did not distinguish between a response in offspring size and clutch size. Here, we model how specific paternal effects on fitness affect maternal allocation to offspring size and number. The specific mechanism by which males affect the fitness of females or their offspring determines whether and how females allocated differentially. Offspring size is predicted to increase when males benefit offspring survival, but decrease when males increase offspring growth rate. Clutch size is predicted to increase when males contribute to female resources (e.g. with a nuptial gift) and when males increase offspring growth rate. The predicted direction and magnitude of female responses vary with female age, but only when per-offspring paternal benefits decline with clutch size.We conclude that considering specific paternal effects on fitness in the context of maternal life-history trade-offs can help explain mixed empirical patterns of differential allocation and reproductive compensation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20131981
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume281
Issue number1779
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 29 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Keywords

  • Differential allocation
  • Dynamic state-variable model
  • Maternal investment
  • Reproductive compensation
  • Theory

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