Multiple paternity, sperm storage, and reproductive success of female and male painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) in nature
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- Pearse, D.E., Janzen, F.J. & Avise, J.C. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (2002) 51: 164. doi:10.1007/s00265-001-0421-7
When females receive no direct benefits from multiple matings, concurrent multiple paternity is often explained by indirect genetic benefits to offspring. To examine such possibilities, we analyzed genetic paternity for 1,272 hatchlings, representing 227 clutches, from a nesting population of painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) on the Mississippi River. Goals were to quantify the incidence and distribution of concurrent multiple paternity across clutches, examine temporal patterns of sperm storage by females, and deduce the extent to which indirect benefits result from polyandrous female behaviors. Blood samples from adult males also allowed us to genetically identify the sires of surveyed clutches and to assess phenotypic variation associated with male fitness. From the genetic data, female and male reproductive success were deduced and then interpreted together with field data to evaluate possible effects of female mating behaviors and sire identity on offspring fitness. We document that more than 30% of the clutches were likely fathered by multiple males, and that presence of multiple paternity was positively correlated with clutch size. Furthermore, the data indicate that the second male to mate typically had high paternity precedence over the first.
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