Experimentally Simulating Paternity Uncertainty: Immediate and Long-Term Responses of Male and Female Reed Warblers Acrocephalus scirpaceusReportar como inadecuado




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In many socially monogamous species, both sexes seek copulation outside the pair bond in order to increase their reproductive success. In response, males adopt counter-strategies to combat the risk of losing paternity. However, no study so far has tried to experimentally prove the function of behaviour for paternity assurance. Introducing a potential extra-pair partner during the female fertile period provides a standardised method to examine how pair members respond immediately e.g. increase mate guarding or copulation frequency or long term e.g. later parental investment and paternity uncertainty. In this study on a socially monogamous passerine species, we experimentally confronted pairs of reed warblers with a conspecific male caged male simulating an intruder during egg-laying. Our results revealed that occurrence of an intruder during that period triggered aggression against the intruder, depending on the presence of the female. The male territory owner also attacked the female partner to drive her away from the intruder. Thus territory defence in reed warblers also serves to protect paternity. The increase in paternity uncertainty did not affect later paternal investment. Paternal investment was also independent of the actual paternity losses. In females, the experiment elicited both, immediate and long-term responses. E.g. female copulation solicitations during the intruder experiment were only observed for females which later turned out to have extra-pair chicks in their nest. In relation to long term response females faced with an intruder invested later less in offspring feeding, and had less extra-pair chicks in their nests. Extra-pair paternity also seems to be affected by female quality body size. In conclusion female reed warblers seem to seek extra-pair fertilizations but we could demonstrate that males adopt paternity assurance tactics which seems to efficiently help them to reduce paternity uncertainty.



Autor: Herbert Hoi , Ján Krištofík , Alžbeta Darolová

Fuente: http://plos.srce.hr/



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