The egg nest of male three-spined sticklebacks Gasterosteus aculeatus is constructed with a glue-like secretion that this study demonstrates has antimicrobial properties. Glue collected from reproductively active males decreased the growth rate of bacteria and opportunistic fungi, and eggs were more likely to mature and hatch after exposure to their father's glue. This phenomenon may represent a direct physiological contribution from a male towards protecting his offspring from pathogens, and if so is a novel form of parental protection.
- paternal care
- stickleback glue
- INDIRECT FITNESS CONSEQUENCES
- MATE CHOICE
- SEXUAL SELECTION