A new University of British Columbia study finds that male stickleback fish that protect their young have bigger brains than counterparts that don't care for offspring.
Stickleback fish are well known in the animal kingdom for the fact that the male of the species, rather than the female, cares for offspring. Male sticklebacks typically have bigger brains than females and researchers wanted to find out if the difference in size might relate to their role as caregivers.
In the study, published recently in Ecology and Evolution
, researchers compared regular male sticklebacks to male white sticklebacks, which do not tend to their offspring. They found evidence that this change in male behaviour - giving up caring for the young - occurred at the same time the white stickleback evolved a smaller brain.