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Trade-off between parental and mating effort in the harvestman Serracutisoma proximum (Arachnida: Opiliones): devoted fathers or selfish lovers?

Grant number: 12/23022-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2013
Effective date (End): August 31, 2013
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Animal Behavior
Principal Investigator:Glauco Machado
Grantee:Louise Alissa de Morais
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


According to the life-history theory, individuals are selected to optimize the allocation of time and energy between parental and mating effort, thus maximizing the lifetime reproductive success. In species exhibiting paternal care, the trade-off between parental and the mating effort is particularly evident because males are generally unable to acquire additional mates while caring. Serracutisoma proximum is a harvestman in which males defend harems on the vegetation and may exhibit facultative paternal care when caring females desert or die. This species, therefore, is a good model organism to test the following hypotheses: (1) the more attractive a male, the lower his probability of exhibiting facultative paternal care and the higher the probability of filial cannibalism; (2) the higher the offspring value (measured as the number of eggs in the clutch), the higher probability of a male to exhibit facultative paternal care and the lower the probability of filial cannibalism; (3) the higher the paternity uncertainty, the higher probability of a male to exhibit facultative paternal care and the lower the probability of filial cannibalism. These hypotheses will be experimentally tested in the field during the peak of the reproductive season. Given that facultative paternal care is interpreted as an intermediate step in the evolution of exclusive paternal care, this study can increase our comprehension on the evolution of male care. Recent studies show that sexual selection is an important evolutionary force favoring the maintenance of paternal care, and our results can shed light on how this behavior may have arisen from an ancestral condition of resource defense polygyny.(AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
ALISSA, L. M.; MUNIZ, D. G.; MACHADO, G.. Devoted fathers or selfish lovers? Conflict between mating effort and parental care in a harem-defending arachnid. JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY, v. 30, n. 1, p. 191-201, . (11/12795-2, 15/10448-4, 12/23022-7)

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