, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 223-228

Responses of male white ibises to their mate's extra-pair copulations

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I intensively observed the mating behavior of 134 pairs of white ibises for over 15 000 pair hours to examine the responses of males to extrapair copulations (EPC) involving their mates. Females often cooperated completely in apparently fertile EPCs. Male mate-guarding was vigorous and effective. Males did not respond to apparent sperm competition with forced-pair copulation, physical punishment, or abandonment of their mates. I found no negative correlation between degree of female promiscuity and the amount of parental care her mate gave to the entire brood. Males also did not reduce paternal care given to the young most likely to be the result of an EPC. I hypothesize that males are constrained in the behaviors they can use to avoid misplaced paternity in this species. While male mate-guarding reduces the opportunities for female involvement in EPC, the behaviors used by males to protect paternity apparently have not prevented the evolution of female receptiveness during EPC attempts.