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Number of mates and timing of mating affect offspring growth in the small marsupial Antechinus agilis

Fisher, Diana; Double, Michael; Moore, Ben

Description

Many fitness benefits of polyandry have been proposed. We addressed four hypotheses that are relevant to the agile antechinus, Antechinus agilis, a highly promiscuous marsupial: polyandry (1) involves females 'trading up' to obtain good genes for offspring; (2) promotes sperm competition/sperm choice to obtain good genes; (3) enables females to avoid genetically incompatible gene combinations (specifically inbreeding); or (4) enables females to avoid infertility. We tested the predictions of...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorFisher, Diana
dc.contributor.authorDouble, Michael
dc.contributor.authorMoore, Ben
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-13T23:01:38Z
dc.identifier.issn0003-3472
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/84511
dc.description.abstractMany fitness benefits of polyandry have been proposed. We addressed four hypotheses that are relevant to the agile antechinus, Antechinus agilis, a highly promiscuous marsupial: polyandry (1) involves females 'trading up' to obtain good genes for offspring; (2) promotes sperm competition/sperm choice to obtain good genes; (3) enables females to avoid genetically incompatible gene combinations (specifically inbreeding); or (4) enables females to avoid infertility. We tested the predictions of these hypotheses using female choice trials, manipulative mating experiments and microsatellite analysis of paternity. Because timing of mating affects fertility and prenatal abnormality rates in this species, we also tested whether it affects offspring growth rates. We found support for a genetic benefit of polyandry: offspring of polyandrous females grew faster than offspring of monandrous females, and this effect was more pronounced for females that mated close to ovulation. However, although larger males sire more offspring in the wild in this species, females did not initially choose large mates and did not 'trade up' based on male size. We found no evidence of genetic incompatibility effects. Monandrous females were not less likely to conceive than polyandrous females, although females in the wild are more likely to encounter infertile and subfertile males than in this study. Females that mated closer to ovulation had slower-growing litters. We conclude that female antechinuses benefit through increased offspring growth rates by mating with multiple males, and by mating several days before ovulation.
dc.publisherAcademic Press
dc.sourceAnimal Behaviour
dc.subjectKeywords: marsupial; mating behavior; polyandry; sperm competition; Antechinus; Antechinus agilis; Metatheria
dc.titleNumber of mates and timing of mating affect offspring growth in the small marsupial Antechinus agilis
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.description.refereedYes
local.identifier.citationvolume71
dc.date.issued2006
local.identifier.absfor060201 - Behavioural Ecology
local.identifier.ariespublicationMigratedxPub12793
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationFisher, Diana , College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationDouble, Michael, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationMoore, Ben, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage289
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage297
local.identifier.doi10.1016/j.anbehav.2005.03.041
dc.date.updated2015-12-12T07:41:25Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-31844454535
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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