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Keywords:

  • life history;
  • male allocation;
  • parental care;
  • reproductive strategies;
  • sexual selection

Abstract

Recent theory predicted that male advertisement will reliably signal investment in paternal care in species where offspring survival requires paternal care and males allocate resources between advertisement and care. However, the predicted relationship between care and advertisement depended on the marginal gains from investment in current reproductive traits. Life history theory suggests that these fitness gains are also subject to a trade-off between current and future reproduction. Here, we investigate whether male signalling remains a reliable indicator of parental care when males allocate resources between current advertisement, paternal care and survival to future reproduction. We find that advertisement is predicted to remain a reliable signal of male care but that advertisement may cease to reliably indicate male quality because low-quality males are predicted to invest in current reproduction, whereas higher-quality males are able to invest in both current reproduction and survival to future reproduction.