School of Biological Sciences Seminar: Evolution of paternal care in harvestmen – devoted fathers or selfish lovers? Event as iCalendar

(Biodiversity and Biosecurity, Biological Sciences, Environment, Seminars)

03 February 2017

1 - 2pm

Venue: Mac 1, Biology Building

Location: 5 Symonds Street, City Campus, Auckland Central

Host: School of Biological Sciences

Cost: Free - all welcome

Close up image of a harvestman guarding eggs on a leaf.

Evolution of paternal care in harvestmen: devoted fathers or selfish lovers?

Associate Professor Glauco Machado, Department of Ecology, University of São Paulo, Brazil

How parental care evolves and which sex should care for the offspring are central questions in evolutionary biology. Although the theoretical bases to address these questions were developed almost 45 years ago, in the last 10 years mathematical models have incorporated co-evolutionary feedbacks between parental investment and sexual selection, challenging the classical foundations and proposing new hypotheses to be tested.

In this talk, Associate Professor Machado will first review the theoretical background on sex roles and parental care, contrasting classical views with the most recent mathematical models. Then, he will present a series of studies where neotropical harvestmen are used as study systems. Using both field observations and experiments, predictions from different theoretical models will be tested, and the costs and benefits of paternal care will be evaluated. Results indicate that paternal care increases males’ attractiveness to females, and that paternal care confers high benefits to the offspring when compared to relatively low costs to the males in terms of decreasing survival and foraging rates. To conclude, Associate Professor Machado will integrate the available information for harvestmen and other arthropod species to derive general conclusions on the evolution of paternal care.