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BMC Evolutionary Biology

, 15:181

First Online: 03 September 2015Received: 15 June 2015Accepted: 27 August 2015DOI: 10.1186-s12862-015-0469-z

Cite this article as: Mangold, A., Trenkwalder, K., Ringler, M. et al. BMC Evol Biol 2015 15: 181. doi:10.1186-s12862-015-0469-z


BackgroundReproductive skew, the uneven distribution of reproductive success among individuals, is a common feature of many animal populations. Several scenarios have been proposed to favour either high or low levels of reproductive skew. Particularly a male-biased operational sex ratio and the asynchronous arrival of females is expected to cause high variation in reproductive success among males. Recently it has been suggested that the type of benefits provided by males fixed vs. dilutable could also strongly impact individual mating patterns, and thereby affecting reproductive skew. We tested this hypothesis in Hyalinobatrachium valerioi, a Neotropical glass frog with prolonged breeding and paternal care.

ResultsWe monitored and genetically sampled a natural population in southwestern Costa Rica during the breeding season in 2012 and performed parentage analysis of adult frogs and tadpoles to investigate individual mating frequencies, possible mating preferences, and estimate reproductive skew in males and females. We identified a polygamous mating system, where high proportions of males 69 % and females 94 % reproduced successfully. The variance in male mating success could largely be attributed to differences in time spent calling at the reproductive site, but not to body size or relatedness. Female H. valerioi were not choosy and mated indiscriminately with available males.

ConclusionsOur findings support the hypothesis that dilutable male benefits - such as parental care - can favour female polyandry and maintain low levels of reproductive skew among males within a population, even in the presence of direct male-male competition and a highly male-biased operational sex ratio. We hypothesize that low male reproductive skew might be a general characteristic in prolonged breeders with paternal care.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s12862-015-0469-z contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Alexandra Mangold - Katharina Trenkwalder - Max Ringler - Walter Hödl - Eva Ringler

Source: https://link.springer.com/

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