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Does time of the season influence filial cannibalism in the sand goby, Pomatoschistus minutus?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
2007 (English)In: Environmental Biology of Fishes, ISSN 0378-1909, E-ISSN 1573-5133, Vol. 80, no 1, 69-75 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

According to life-history theory, filial cannibalism by fish that breed over one season only should be more beneficial early than late in the season if they eat eggs to invest energy into later clutches. Also, filial cannibalism may be more costly late in the season if finding ripe females for replacing eaten eggs is harder then. On the other hand, offspring hatching early may have a competitive advantage over fry hatching late and hence provide higher fitness to the parent. Using data collected over three successive years, I tested if sand goby males are more prone to eat of their eggs early than late in the reproductive season. I found no difference in the amount of eggs eaten or in the frequency of males eating the whole clutch between early and late in the season. Furthermore, there was no difference in the frequency of males who ate parts of their clutches, early compared to late. This might reflect a tradeoff between quality (early hatching offspring) and quantity (producing as many offspring as possible over a long reproductive season). If so, the lack of seasonal pattern of filial cannibalism found in sand gobies might be the result of opposing selection pressures.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer , 2007. Vol. 80, no 1, 69-75 p.
Keyword [en]
Filial cannibalism, Operational sex, ratio, Parental investment, Pomatoschistus miniutus, Reproductive season
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-23058DOI: 10.1007/s10641-006-9117-1ISI: 000249012100007OAI: diva2:190011
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-1399Available from: 2006-12-06 Created: 2006-12-06 Last updated: 2011-01-19Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Paternal care, filial cannibalism and sexual conflict in the sand goby, Pomatoschistus minutus
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Paternal care, filial cannibalism and sexual conflict in the sand goby, Pomatoschistus minutus
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Natural and sexual selection and sexual conflict are forces shaping the evolution of reproductive behaviour, while constrained by factors like environment, physiology and life-history trade-offs. Parental care is costly both in terms of time and energy. In fish, filial cannibalism is a strategy for caring males to compensate for some of the energy loss. Human impact like eutrophication also alters the basics for animals living in that environment. It is fundamental to any species to adjust its behaviour to a changing environment. Studying sand goby males, I found trade-offs both regarding parental care allocations, like ventilation vs. predator defence, and investment in present vs. future reproductive success. Paternal sand gobies exposed to water with low oxygen levels increased their fanning effort but did not compensate by eating more eggs, even though an increased current parental effort should affect future reproductive success negatively. Investigating if patterns of filial cannibalism change with time of season, I found no correlation. Theory predicts that it should pay more to eat eggs early, when future mating potential is higher than late in the season. However, as early hatching fry are likely to gain higher fitness through larger size the next breeding season, this may provide an opposing selection pressure. In species with male care the only way a female can affect the level of post-spawning care is by choosing a good mate. A female preference to spawn in nests that already contain eggs of other females has been interpreted as a means to avoid filial cannibalism through a dilution effect or to decrease the costs of search time. Yet, in my study females did not avoid filial cannibalism by preferring large clutches to small ones. Oxygenation of the eggs might be a key factor, since both large and small females preferred spawning in nests with small clutches. Thus, as in most animals, trade-offs clearly govern the reproductive behaviour of sand gobies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Zoologiska institutionen, 2006. 100 p.
female choice, filial cannibalism, Gobiidae, parental care, Pomatoschistus minutus, sand goby, sexual conflict, sexual selection
National Category
Biological Sciences
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-1399 (URN)91-7155-357-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-01-19, sal G, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 14-18, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2006-12-06 Created: 2006-12-06Bibliographically approved

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