Parental care and the evolution of egg size in fishes.

R. C. Sargent, P. D. Taylor, M. R. Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

248 Scopus citations


The quality of parental care appears to correlate positively with egg size, both among and within species of fishes. A model to explain continuous covariation between the quality of parental care and egg size contains 3 major assumptions about the dependence of offspring survival on egg size: offspring from larger eggs develop more slowly and take longer to resorb their yolk sacs and become juveniles; egg size determines initial juvenile size; and larger juveniles, which hatch from larger eggs, have lower mortalities, experience faster growth, and take less time to become adults. Under these assumptions, as parental care reduces instantaneous egg mortality, optimal egg size increases. This increase is expected both among and within populations. Thus, the general conclusion that each population should have a single optimal egg size may be incorrect. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-46
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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