Behaviour 2019
Search
Parental Care Makes Offspring More Cautious: Evidence from Developmental and Evolutionary Timescales
Meghan F. Maciejewski1, Colby Behrens1, Mira McLain1, Alison M. Bell1,2,3,4. 1Department of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, United States; 2Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, United States; 3Program in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, United States; 4Program in Neuroscience, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, United States

Parental care provides immediate fitness benefits to offspring by increasing offspring survival, but care can also have more subtle impacts on the fitness of offspring by shaping their behavior. We tested for an effect of paternal care on offspring behavior in two populations of threespine stickleback, one that provides and receives paternal care (a “caring” population) and another that has evolved highly reduced paternal care (a “non-caring” population). Within the caring population, we also manipulated the care received by either leaving the eggs with their fathers to receive care (father-reared group) or removing them immediately after fertilization (orphaned group). We tested juvenile offspring behaviors in a simple black/white preference assay. Fish that didn’t receive care (the non-caring population and the orphaned fish from the caring population) were less cautious than father-reared fish. Fish from the non-caring population were more active than fish from the caring population. Our results suggest that boldness and activity are subject to paternal effects, and that a lack of paternal care increases boldness over both developmental and evolutionary time scales.