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Data from: Male reproductive adjustments to an introduced nest predator

Citation

Gravolin, Isaac et al. (2021), Data from: Male reproductive adjustments to an introduced nest predator, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0zpc866xp

Abstract

Nest predation has a large impact on reproductive success in many taxa. Defending offspring from would-be predators can also be energetically and physiologically costly for parents. Thus, to maximize their reproductive payoffs, individuals should adjust their reproductive behaviors in relation to the presence of nest predators. However, effects of nest predator presence on parental behaviors across multiple reproductive contexts remain poorly understood, particularly in non-avian taxa. We ran a series of experiments to test how the presence of an egg predator, the invasive rockpool shrimp, Palaemon elegans, influences male reproductive decisions and egg survival in a species of fish with exclusive paternal care, the three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus. We found that, in the presence of shrimp, male sticklebacks were less likely to build a nest, invested less in territory defense against an intruder and tended to fan eggs in their nest less and in shorter bouts, but did not alter their investment in courtship behavior. The predators' presence also did not affect egg survival rates, suggesting that males effectively defended their brood from the shrimp. These results show that reproducing individuals can be highly responsive to the presence of nest predators and adjust their behavioral decisions accordingly across a suite of reproductive contexts.