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Annu Rev Entomol. 2001;46:139-65.

Evolution of exclusive paternal care in arthopods.

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Delaware Agricultural Experiment Station, Department of Entomology and Applied Ecology, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware 19717-1303, USA.


Exclusive male care of offspring is the rarest form of postzygotic parental care among animals and has arisen independently in only 13 arthropod taxa. To distinguish the effects of sexual selection from those of natural selection on the evolution of arthropod paternal care, predictions concerning several life-history and behavioral traits resulting from both forms of selection are made and tested across all known taxa with exclusive paternal care. Comparisons suggest parallels between prezygotic nuptial gifts and exclusive postzygotic male care and support the hypothesis that, in arthropods, male behaviors that enhance female reproductive success either directly, by releasing females from the fecundity constraints of maternal care (enhanced fecundity hypothesis), or indirectly, by identifying mates with superior genes (handicap principle), are traits on which sexual selection has acted. Under such conditions, males that are willing to guard young become preferred mates for gravid females and enjoy greater promiscuity than males that are unable or unwilling to guard. Females use nest construction or the act of guarding another female's eggs as honest signals of paternal intent and quality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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