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Display rate by male fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus) during the fertile period of females has little influence on extra-pair mate choice

Green, David; Osmond, Helen; Double, Michael; Cockburn, Andrew

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Empirical and theoretical studies have only recently begun to examine how females use complex multi-component displays when selecting mates. Superb fairy-wrens are well suited to the study of female choice because females have control over extra-group paternity and cuckold their mates at high rates, while males possess a variety of sexually selected traits. Available evidence suggests that females base their extra-group mate choice on the timing of male moult into breeding plumage or the onset...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorGreen, David
dc.contributor.authorOsmond, Helen
dc.contributor.authorDouble, Michael
dc.contributor.authorCockburn, Andrew
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-13T23:16:04Z
dc.identifier.issn0340-5443
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/89223
dc.description.abstractEmpirical and theoretical studies have only recently begun to examine how females use complex multi-component displays when selecting mates. Superb fairy-wrens are well suited to the study of female choice because females have control over extra-group paternity and cuckold their mates at high rates, while males possess a variety of sexually selected traits. Available evidence suggests that females base their extra-group mate choice on the timing of male moult into breeding plumage or the onset of display. However, males continue to perform elaborate displays throughout the season, and direct most displays to females during their fertile period. We therefore conducted focal observations on fertile females to quantify the frequency of male display and used microsatellite genotyping to compare the role of display rate during the breeding season and the timing of male moult on female mate choice. We show that the addition of data on male display rate does not improve our ability to predict which males obtain extra-group paternity. The timing of male moult into breeding plumage remains the only predictor of male extra-group reproductive success. Nevertheless, we found that males displayed more to females that were unable to select extra-group mates on the basis of the timing of moult or the onset of display. This raises the possibility that there are circumstances when females use display rate to discriminate between potential extra-group sires. Overall this study supports the theoretical prediction that females are more likely to base their mate choice on reliable indicators of male quality such as fixed morphological traits and displays of endurance, in this case an early moult into breeding plumage and the performance of an elaborate display during the winter, than a flexible behavioural trait such as display rate during the breeding season.
dc.publisherSpringer
dc.sourceBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
dc.subjectKeywords: display behavior; extra-pair copulation; female behavior; male behavior; mate choice; passerine Extra-pair copulation; Honest signalling; Malurus cyaneus; Mate choice; Sexual selection
dc.titleDisplay rate by male fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus) during the fertile period of females has little influence on extra-pair mate choice
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.description.refereedYes
local.identifier.citationvolume48
dc.date.issued2000
local.identifier.absfor060201 - Behavioural Ecology
local.identifier.ariespublicationMigratedxPub19181
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationGreen, David, College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationOsmond, Helen, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationDouble, Michael, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationCockburn, Andrew, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage438
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage446
dc.date.updated2015-12-12T08:46:31Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-0033652211
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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