Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 137–143

Mating system of the cooperatively breeding noisy miner Manorina melanocephala, as revealed by DNA profiling

  • Tarmo Põldmaa
  • Robert Montgomerie
  • Peter Boag
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF00164159

Cite this article as:
Põldmaa, T., Montgomerie, R. & Boag, P. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (1995) 37: 137. doi:10.1007/BF00164159

Abstract

In this study we examined parentage within broods of the cooperatively breeding noisy miner using multi-locus DNA profiling. Previous studies of noisy miners described them as highly promiscuous, leading to the suggestion that promiscuous mating behaviour was a tactic used by females to recruit males as provisioners to their nests (Dow 1978). At our study site in south-east Queensland, Australia, we found that both multiple and extra-group paternity (i.e. a female mating with a male outside the group of male provisioners at her nest) were rare. In nests where multiple paternity was possible (i.e. clutch size > 1) 97% of 31 broods were sired by only a single male. Overall, 96.5% of all nestlings (n = 85) were the result of monogamous matings. Also, at the vast majority of nests, the male that sired the nestlings was also the main provisioner among all male nest attendants. Our results show that the mating system of the noisy miner can no longer be considered cooperative polyandry (Brown 1987) but is clearly genetic monogamy. We discuss the implications of this finding for understanding the complex social system of this species.

Key words

Cooperative breeding Cooperative polyandry DNA profiling Monogamy Manorina melanocephala 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tarmo Põldmaa
    • 1
  • Robert Montgomerie
    • 1
  • Peter Boag
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyQueen's UniversityKingstonCanada

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