The differential allocation hypothesis assumes that animals should weigh costs and benefits of investing into reproduction with a current mate against the expected quality of future mates, and predicts that they should invest more into reproduction when pairing with a high-quality mate. In the broad-nosed pipefish (Syngnathus typhle), males care for the embryos in a brood pouch and females compete for access to male mating partners. Both sexes prefer mating with large partners. In the present study, we show that the same female provides both large and small mating partners with eggs of similar size, weight and lipid content when mated to two males in succession. Importantly, however, eggs provided to small males (less preferred) had higher egg protein content (11% more) than those provided to large males (preferred). Thus, contrary to the differential allocation hypothesis, eggs did not contain more resources when females mated with a larger male. Instead, the pattern observed in our results is consistent with a compensatory reproductive strategy.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 22 May 2010|