A female’s past experience with predators affects male courtship and the care her offspring will receive from their father

Katie E. McGhee, Sally Feng, Sagan Leasure, Alison Marie Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Differential allocation occurs when individuals adjust their reproductive investment based on their partner's traits. However, it remains unknown whether animals differentially allocate based on their partner's past experiences with predation risk. If animals can detect a potential mate's experience with predators, this might inform them about the stress level of their potential mate, the likelihood of parental effects in offspring and/or the dangers present in the environment. Using threespined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), we examined whether a female's previous experience with being chased by a model predator while yolking eggs affects male mating effort and offspring care. Males displayed fewer conspicuous courtship behaviours towards females that had experienced predation risk in the past compared with unexposed females. This differential allocation extended to how males cared for the resulting offspring of these matings: fathers provided less parental care to offspring of females that had experienced predation risk in the past. Our results show for the first time, to our knowledge, that variation among females in their predator encounters can contribute to behavioural variation among males in courtship and parental care, even when males themselves do not encounter a predator. These results, together with previous findings, suggest that maternal predator exposure can influence offspring development both directly and indirectly, through how it affects father care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20151840
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume282
Issue number1819
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 11 2015

Fingerprint

Courtship
courtship
fathers
Fathers
predator
predators
predation risk
Animals
parental care
predation
Smegmamorpha
Maternal Exposure
female behavior
animal
Gasterosteus aculeatus
Gasterosteidae
Eggs
animals
egg

Keywords

  • Differential allocation
  • Maternal effects
  • Parental care
  • Predator stress
  • Threespined stickleback
  • Transgenerational plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this

A female’s past experience with predators affects male courtship and the care her offspring will receive from their father. / McGhee, Katie E.; Feng, Sally; Leasure, Sagan; Bell, Alison Marie.

In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 282, No. 1819, 20151840, 11.11.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{1b0f5ec39f1747d7b5b614d9be5e80a6,
title = "A female’s past experience with predators affects male courtship and the care her offspring will receive from their father",
abstract = "Differential allocation occurs when individuals adjust their reproductive investment based on their partner's traits. However, it remains unknown whether animals differentially allocate based on their partner's past experiences with predation risk. If animals can detect a potential mate's experience with predators, this might inform them about the stress level of their potential mate, the likelihood of parental effects in offspring and/or the dangers present in the environment. Using threespined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), we examined whether a female's previous experience with being chased by a model predator while yolking eggs affects male mating effort and offspring care. Males displayed fewer conspicuous courtship behaviours towards females that had experienced predation risk in the past compared with unexposed females. This differential allocation extended to how males cared for the resulting offspring of these matings: fathers provided less parental care to offspring of females that had experienced predation risk in the past. Our results show for the first time, to our knowledge, that variation among females in their predator encounters can contribute to behavioural variation among males in courtship and parental care, even when males themselves do not encounter a predator. These results, together with previous findings, suggest that maternal predator exposure can influence offspring development both directly and indirectly, through how it affects father care.",
keywords = "Differential allocation, Maternal effects, Parental care, Predator stress, Threespined stickleback, Transgenerational plasticity",
author = "McGhee, {Katie E.} and Sally Feng and Sagan Leasure and Bell, {Alison Marie}",
year = "2015",
month = "11",
day = "11",
doi = "10.1098/rspb.2015.1840",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "282",
journal = "Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences",
issn = "0800-4622",
publisher = "Royal Society of London",
number = "1819",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - A female’s past experience with predators affects male courtship and the care her offspring will receive from their father

AU - McGhee, Katie E.

AU - Feng, Sally

AU - Leasure, Sagan

AU - Bell, Alison Marie

PY - 2015/11/11

Y1 - 2015/11/11

N2 - Differential allocation occurs when individuals adjust their reproductive investment based on their partner's traits. However, it remains unknown whether animals differentially allocate based on their partner's past experiences with predation risk. If animals can detect a potential mate's experience with predators, this might inform them about the stress level of their potential mate, the likelihood of parental effects in offspring and/or the dangers present in the environment. Using threespined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), we examined whether a female's previous experience with being chased by a model predator while yolking eggs affects male mating effort and offspring care. Males displayed fewer conspicuous courtship behaviours towards females that had experienced predation risk in the past compared with unexposed females. This differential allocation extended to how males cared for the resulting offspring of these matings: fathers provided less parental care to offspring of females that had experienced predation risk in the past. Our results show for the first time, to our knowledge, that variation among females in their predator encounters can contribute to behavioural variation among males in courtship and parental care, even when males themselves do not encounter a predator. These results, together with previous findings, suggest that maternal predator exposure can influence offspring development both directly and indirectly, through how it affects father care.

AB - Differential allocation occurs when individuals adjust their reproductive investment based on their partner's traits. However, it remains unknown whether animals differentially allocate based on their partner's past experiences with predation risk. If animals can detect a potential mate's experience with predators, this might inform them about the stress level of their potential mate, the likelihood of parental effects in offspring and/or the dangers present in the environment. Using threespined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), we examined whether a female's previous experience with being chased by a model predator while yolking eggs affects male mating effort and offspring care. Males displayed fewer conspicuous courtship behaviours towards females that had experienced predation risk in the past compared with unexposed females. This differential allocation extended to how males cared for the resulting offspring of these matings: fathers provided less parental care to offspring of females that had experienced predation risk in the past. Our results show for the first time, to our knowledge, that variation among females in their predator encounters can contribute to behavioural variation among males in courtship and parental care, even when males themselves do not encounter a predator. These results, together with previous findings, suggest that maternal predator exposure can influence offspring development both directly and indirectly, through how it affects father care.

KW - Differential allocation

KW - Maternal effects

KW - Parental care

KW - Predator stress

KW - Threespined stickleback

KW - Transgenerational plasticity

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84947087703&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84947087703&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1098/rspb.2015.1840

DO - 10.1098/rspb.2015.1840

M3 - Article

C2 - 26559956

AN - SCOPUS:84947087703

VL - 282

JO - Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

JF - Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

SN - 0800-4622

IS - 1819

M1 - 20151840

ER -