Vigorously courting male sticklebacks are poor fathers

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16 Scopus citations


Male threespine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) that are unsuccessful at hatching eggs may provide insufficient parental care or have unhealthy or unfertilized eggs. In this study, most males that were unsuccessful at hatching eggs appeared to be poor fathers because they depleted their energy reserves by vigorously courting females and by maintaining intense nuptial coloration during courtship and parental care, leading to reduced fanning of the eggs. Unsuccessful males differed from successful males by investing more in obtaining a clutch of eggs and less in the eggs once they had them, suggesting a trade-off between investing in courtship and investing in paternal care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-89
Number of pages7
JournalActa Ethologica
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Gasterosteus aculeatus
  • Mate choice
  • Parental care
  • Threespine stickleback

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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