Free Content Filial Cannibalism and Male Parental Care in Damselfishes

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Two forms of filial cannibalism, in which an individual consumes its own offspring, have been observed among male damselfishes: whole-clutch and partial-clutch filial cannibalism. Observations of this behavior among damselfishes are reviewed here and the results suggest that filial cannibalism may be quite widespread. This has implications for the costs and benefits of male parental care, because guarding males have unimpeded access to embryos as a source of energy. Thus, a graphical model is explored to evaluate the interaction between the costs and benefits of male filial cannibalism and male parental care. The results of this analysis suggest that the dichotomy between whole-clutch and partial-clutch filial cannibalism can be explained by the occurrence of depreciable parental care in fishes.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1995

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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