The limits to cost-free signalling of need between relatives

  1. Lookup NU author(s)
  2. Dr Ben Brilot
Author(s)Brilot BO; Johnstone RA
Publication type Article
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences
Year2003
Volume270
Issue1519
Pages1055-1060
ISSN (print)0962-8452
ISSN (electronic)1471-2954
Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.
Theoretical models have demonstrated the possibility of stable cost-free signalling of need between relatives. The stability of these cost-free equilibria depends on the indirect fitness cost of cheating and deceiving a donor into giving away resources. We show that this stability is highly sensitive to the distribution of need among signallers and receivers. In particular, cost-free signalling is likely to prove stable only if there is very large variation in need (such that the least-needy individuals stand to gain much less than the most-needy individuals from additional resources). We discuss whether these conditions are likely to be found in altricial avian breeding systems-the most intensively studied instance of signalling of need between relatives. We suggest that cost-free signalling is more likely to prove stable and will provide parents with more information during the earlier phases of chick growth, when parents can more easily meet the demands of a brood (and chicks are more likely to reach satiation). Later, informative yet cost-free signalling is unlikely to persist.
PublisherRoyal Society Publishing
URLhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2003.2329
DOI10.1098/rspb.2003.2329
Actions    Link to this publication
Share