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A Dynamic Program for Male Parental Care in Fishes: Brood Cycling and Filial Cannibalism

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We constructed a dynamic programming model to investigate the phenomena of brood cycling and filial cannibalism in fishes with paternal care. We assumed that parents behave so as to maximize their total expectation of hatching clutches during a breeding season plus a small probability of breeding in future seasons. We further assumed ecological tradeoffs among fitness components such that investment in one component of fitness results in a reduction in other fitness components. We found that the pattern of brood cycling was most strongly affected by mating costs to survival of the parent and survival of the eggs in the nest. Filial cannibalism was most strongly affected by feeding costs to parent and nest survival. Brood cycling appeared to be independent of feeding costs, and filial cannibalism appeared to be independent of mating costs.

Affiliations: 1: (Center for Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, T.H. Morgan School of Biological Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, 40506-0225, USA


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