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Data from: The effects of food limitation on life history tradeoffs in pregnant male Gulf pipefish

Citation

Paczolt, Kimberly A.; Jones, Adam G. (2016), Data from: The effects of food limitation on life history tradeoffs in pregnant male Gulf pipefish, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.q7h3v

Abstract

Syngnathid fishes (pipefishes, seahorses and seadragons) are characterized by a unique mode of paternal care in which embryos develop on or in the male’s body, often within a structure known as a brood pouch. Evidence suggests that this pouch plays a role in mediating postcopulatory sexual selection and that males have some control over the events occurring within the pouch during the pregnancy. These observations lead to the prediction that males should invest differently in broods depending on the availability of food. Here, we use the Gulf pipefish to test this prediction by monitoring growth rate and offspring survivorship during the pregnancies of males under low- or high-food conditions. Our results show that pregnant males grow less rapidly on average than non-pregnant males, and pregnant males under low-food conditions grow less than pregnant males under high-food conditions. Offspring survivorship, on the other hand, does not differ between food treatments, suggesting that male Gulf pipefish sacrifice investment in somatic growth, and thus indirectly sacrifice future reproduction, in favor of current reproduction. However, a positive relationship between number of failed eggs and male growth rate in our low-food treatments suggests that undeveloped eggs reduce the pregnancy’s overall cost to the male compared to broods containing only viable offspring.

Usage Notes

Location

Gulf of Mexico