A Dynamic Program For Male Parental Care In Fishes: Brood Cycling And Filial Cannibalism

R. C. Sargent, P. H. Crowley, C. Huang, M. Lauer, D. Neergaard, L. Schmoetzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


We constructed a dynamic programming model to investigate the phenomena of brood cycling and filial cannibalism in fishes with paternal care. We assumed that parents behave so as to maximize their total expectation of hatching clutches during a breeding season plus a small probability of breeding in future seasons. We further assumed ecological tradeoffs among fitness components such that investment in one component of fitness results in a reduction in other fitness components. We found that the pattern of brood cycling was most strongly affected by mating costs to survival of the parent and survival of the eggs in the nest. Filial cannibalism was most strongly affected by feeding costs to parent and nest survival. Brood cycling appeared to be independent of feeding costs, and filial cannibalism appeared to be independent of mating costs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1059-1078
Number of pages20
Issue number13-14
StatePublished - 1995

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1) We thank Theo BAKKER, Kai LINDSTROM, Sarah KRAAK, Nicolas PERRIN, and Mark RIDG-WAYf or discussion of paternal care in fishes. This research was partially supported by National Science Foundation grants BSR-8614640 and BSR-8918871 to RCS, and by National Science Foundation/Kentucky EPSCOR grants RII-8610671 and EHR-9109754 to PHC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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