Why do females care more than males?

David C. Queller

Abstract

Females tend to provide more parental care than males. Previous efforts to account for this have been confused because it is difficult to express the costs of care for males and females in the same currency. Here I propose a null model that does so, using the Fisherian constraint that total male and female reproduction must be equal. The model shows that, contrary to a number of recent analyses, lower probability of parentage for males does tend to make males less likely than females to provide care. It also shows how sexual selection stemming from premating asymmetries in investment promotes similar post–mating asymmetries.