Present address: Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
Sexual conflict over care: antagonistic effects of clutch desertion on reproductive success of male and female penduline tits
Article first published online: 23 JUL 2007
Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 20, Issue 5, pages 1739–1744, September 2007
How to Cite
SZENTIRMAI, I., SZÉKELY, T. and KOMDEUR, J. (2007), Sexual conflict over care: antagonistic effects of clutch desertion on reproductive success of male and female penduline tits. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 20: 1739–1744. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2007.01392.x
- Issue published online: 23 JUL 2007
- Article first published online: 23 JUL 2007
- Received 5 March 2007; revised 19 May 2007; accepted 22 May 2007
- parental care;
- Remiz pendulinus;
- reproductive success;
- sexual conflict
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.