What is parental care?

Per T. Smiseth, Mathias Kölliker and Nick J. Royle

in The Evolution of Parental Care

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199692576
Published online December 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191774737 | DOI:
What is parental care?

Show Summary Details


This chapter begins by providing a brief overview of the tremendous diversity among species and higher taxa in the basic forms of care that parents provide to their offspring. It discusses five key terms that are used in the study of the evolution of parental care: parental care, parental expenditure, parental investment, parental effort, and parental effects. It then identifies sources of confusion over the use of these terms and suggests how the terms could be used more consistently in the future to improve translation between theory and empirical work in this field. Next, it considers the difficult issue of how to assign fitness, and fitness benefits and costs of care, to parents and offspring. Finally, the chapter provides a brief discussion of the environmental conditions that are thought to favour the origin and subsequent modifications of parental care.

Keywords: parental fitness; parental expenditure; parental investment; parental effects; environmental conditions

Chapter.  10769 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.