Female Control of the Distribution of Paternity in Cooperative Breeders

Michael A. Cant, Hudson K. Reeve
2002 American Naturalist  
Models of reproductive skew have shed light on why animal societies vary in the partitioning of reproduction among group members. However, their application to cooperative vertebrate societies remains controversial. A particular problem is that previous models assume that skew in paternity is determined by interactions among males and males only. This conflicts with observations from many species that indicate that females exert control over the distribution of paternity. Here we address this
more » ... ortfall in the current theory by developing two models to explore the expected patterns of skew in three member groups in which a female controls the allocation of paternity among two males. The first "staying incentive" model extends previous "transactional" (or "concession") models to examine the conditions where females will be willing to share reproduction among a dominant and a subordinate male to retain the subordinate in the group. The second "work incentive" model explores patterns of skew where females allocate paternity in order to maximize the amount of care their offspring receive. The models make contrasting predictions about the nature of male-female conflict over reproduction and also about the relationships between skew and relatedness, ecological constraints, the relative quality of the subordinate male, and the relative cost of care for the two males. These divergent predictions provide a schema by which the evolutionary causes of variation in skew among males can be evaluated.
doi:10.1086/342820 pmid:18707511 fatcat:gdpgqn7nkzhzpoyiedg7xdcdda