Sexual conflict over care: antagonistic effects of clutch desertion on reproductive success of male and female penduline tits

I Szentirmai, T Szekely, J Komdeur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A fundamental tenet of sexual conflict theory is that one sex may increase its reproductive success (RS) even if this harms the other sex. Several studies supported this principle by showing that males benefit from reduced paternal care whereas females suffer from it. By investigating penduline tits Remiz pendulinus in nature, we show that parental conflict may be symmetric between sexes. In this small passerine a single female (or male) cares for the offspring, whereas about 30% of clutches are deserted by both parents. Deserting parents enhance their RS by obtaining multiple mates, and they reduce the RS of their mates due to increased nest failure. Unlike most other species, however, the antagonistic interests are symmetric in penduline tits, because both sexes enhance their own RS by deserting, whilst harming the RS of their mates. We argue that the strong antagonistic interests of sexes explain the high frequency of biparental desertion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1739-1744
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume20
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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