Article

Kinship reduces alloparental care in cooperative cichlids where helpers pay-to-stay

  • Nature Communications 4, Article number: 1341 (2013)
  • doi:10.1038/ncomms2344
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Abstract

Alloparental brood care, where individuals help raising the offspring of others, is generally believed to be favoured by high degrees of relatedness between helpers and recipients. Here we show that in cooperatively breeding cichlids, unrelated subordinate females provide more alloparental care than related ones when kinship between dominant and subordinate group members is experimentally manipulated. In addition, unrelated helpers increased alloparental care after we simulated egg cannibalism by helpers, an effect not shown by related helpers. By supporting predictions of pay-to-stay theory, these results suggest that in Neolamprologus pulcher, reciprocal commodity trading is important for the decision of subordinates to invest in care of the dominants’ offspring.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Rick Bruintjes for help with the data collection, Peter Biedermann, Mike Cant, Sander van Doorn, Joachim Frommen and Barbara Taborsky for comments on the manuscript. Funding was provided by SNF-grant 3100A0-122511 to Michael Taborsky.

Author information

Author notes

    • Markus Zöttl

    Present address: Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK

    • Markus Zöttl
    •  & Dik Heg

    These authors contributed equally to this work

Affiliations

  1. Department of Behavioural Ecology, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern, CH‐3032 Hinterkappelen, Switzerland

    • Markus Zöttl
    • , Dik Heg
    • , Noémie Chervet
    •  & Michael Taborsky
  2. Department of Clinical Research, Clinical Trials Unit, University of Bern, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland

    • Dik Heg

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Markus Zöttl.

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    Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Figures S1-S3 and Supplementary Table S1

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