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      Begging and Sibling Competition: How Should Offspring Respond to Their Rivals?

      The American Naturalist
      University of Chicago Press

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          Abstract

          Godfray's influential model of competitive begging predicted that offspring should respond to each other's behavior, displaying more intensely when competing with needier rivals. Empirical tests of this prediction have, however, yielded equivocal results. Here, I develop a series of evolutionarily stable strategy models of begging as a signal of need, which show that this prediction holds only for competitive aspects of display that influence the division of food among the brood. No such response is expected for cooperative begging (which influences the total level of provisioning by the parent), and the models even predict the opposite trend under some circumstances (where the indirect costs of extracting additional resources from the parent are high). These contrasting sets of predictions may help to explain the varying empirical results obtained by studies of sibling interaction. Cooperative (as opposed to competitive) begging is likely to be of greater significance in cases where dominant young can gain direct control of allocation (or enjoy some competitive advantage). Dominants are then predicted to parasitize the efforts of their weaker rivals and reduce their own investment in cooperative signaling while continuing to claim a disproportionately large share of the resources provided by the parent.

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          Most cited references29

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          Signalling of need by offspring to their parents

          H. Godfray (1991)
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            Begging the question: are offspring solicitation behaviours signals of need?

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              Signals of need in parent–offspring communication and their exploitation by the common cuckoo

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                The American Naturalist
                The American Naturalist
                University of Chicago Press
                0003-0147
                1537-5323
                March 2004
                March 2004
                : 163
                : 3
                : 388-406
                Article
                10.1086/375541
                15026975
                f6214166-782e-4d65-b183-a2016ced12c9
                © 2004
                History

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