Factors affecting the allocation of paternal care in waterbugs (Belostoma flumineum Say)

Scott L. Kight, Kipp C. Kruse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Male giant waterbugs (Belostoma flumineum Say) brood eggs oviposited on their dorsa by conspecific females. Laboratory observations indicate that viable egg pads are occasionally discarded before hatching. Theory predicts that such behavior should occur only if the costs incurred by brooding exceed the benefits of hatching the egg pad. We studied the effects of egg pad size, time invested in brooding, and egg viability upon the continuation of paternal care in the giant waterbug. We found that smaller egg pads are less likely to hatch than larger ones, and males appear to be less likely to discard egg pads as temporal investment increases. However, the inviability of eggs did not appear to affect the probability of an egg pad being discarded. Males of this species appear to have evolved a decision-making process involving the continuation of paternal care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-414
Number of pages6
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1992


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