Advertisement

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 62, Issue 11, pp 1761–1767 | Cite as

Is female promiscuity constrained by the presence of her social mate? An experiment with bluethroats Luscinia svecica

  • Arild Johnsen
  • Henrik Pärn
  • Frode Fossøy
  • Oddmund Kleven
  • Terje Laskemoen
  • Jan T. Lifjeld
Original Paper

Abstract

Extra-pair paternity is common in birds and much research has focussed on the selective advantage of extra-pair matings for both sexes. In contrast, little attention has been given to the fact that in most species the majority of offspring are sired by the social male. We investigated whether extra-pair matings of female bluethroats (Luscinia svecica) are constrained by the presence of the pair male, by detaining males in cages on their territories for one morning during the peak of female fertility. The proportion of offspring sired by extra-pair males was higher in broods where males had been detained (35%) than in control broods (16%), while the proportion of broods that had at least one extra-pair offspring did not differ significantly between experimental (65%) and control broods (44%). Within the experimental group, levels of extra-pair paternity were not related to the day of experiment in relation to start of egg laying, but males caught early in the morning lost more paternity than males caught later on. Our results show that pair males exert constraints on the frequency of extra-pair paternity by being present during the period of peak fertility, which could be a direct effect of their mate guarding effort and/or due to an advantage in sperm competition for pair males.

Keywords

Sperm competition Mate guarding Sexual conflict Extra-pair paternity Male detention 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Roger Dahl and Geir Rudolfsen for field assistance and Richard Wagner and an anonymous reviewer for constructive comments on the manuscript. The study was financed by a grant to AJ from the Norwegian Research Council (grant no. 159288).

References

  1. Birkhead TR, Møller AP (1992) Sperm competition in birds: evolutionary causes and consequences. Academic, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Birkhead TR, Atkin L, Møller AP (1987) Copulation behaviour in birds. Behaviour 101:101–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Björklund M, Westman B (1983) Extra-pair copulations in the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca). A removal experiment. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 13:271–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brylawski AMZ, Whittingham LA (2004) An experimental study of mate guarding and paternity in house wrens. Anim Behav 68:1417–1424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chuang-Dobbs HC, Webster MS, Holmes RT (2001) The effectiveness of mate guarding by male black-throated blue warblers. Behav Ecol 12:541–546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Currie D, Krupa AP, Burke T, Thompson DBA (1999) The effect of experimental male removals on extrapair paternity in the wheatear, Oenanthe oenanthe. Anim Behav 57:145–152PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dickinson JL (1997) Male detention affects extra-pair copulation frequency and pair behaviour in western bluebirds. Anim Behav 53:561–571CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Foerster K, Delhey K, Johnsen A, Lifjeld JT, Kempenaers B (2003) Females increase offspring heterozygosity and fitness through extra-pair matings. Nature 425:714–717PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fossøy F, Johnsen A, Lifjeld JT (2006) Evidence of obligate female promiscuity in a socially monogamous passerine. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 60:255–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fossøy F, Johnsen A, Lifjeld JT (2008) Multiple genetic benefits of promiscuity in a socially monogamous passerine. Evolution 62:145–156PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Garvin JC, Abroe B, Pedersen MC, Dunn PO, Whittingham LA (2006) Immune response of nestling warblers varies with extra-pair paternity and temperature. Mol Ecol 15:3833–3840PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jeffreys AJ, Allen MJ, Hagelberg E, Sonnberg A (1992) Identification of the skeletal remains of Josef Mengele by DNA analysis. Forensic Sci Int 56:65–76PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Johnsen A, Lifjeld JT (2003) Ecological constraints on extra-pair paternity in the bluethroat. Oecologia 136:476–483PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Johnsen A, Lifjeld JT, Krokene C (2003) Age-related variation in mate-guarding intensity in the bluethroat (Luscinia s. svecica). Ethology 109:147–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Johnsen A, Lifjeld JT, Rohde PA, Primmer CR, Ellegren H (1998) Sexual conflict over fertilizations: female bluethroats escape male paternity guards. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 43:401–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Johnsen A, Andersen V, Sunding C, Lifjeld JT (2000) Female bluethroats enhance offspring immunocompetence through extra-pair copulations. Nature 406:296–299PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Johnsen A, Lifjeld JT, Andersson S, Örnborg J, Amundsen T (2001) Male characteristics and fertilization success in bluethroats. Behaviour 138:1371–1390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Komdeur J, Kraaijeveld-Smit F, Kraaijeveld K, Edelaar P (1999) Explicit experimental evidence for the role of mate guarding in minimizing loss of paternity in the Seychelles warbler. Proc R Soc Lond B 266:2075–2081CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Komdeur J, Burke T, Richardson DS (2007) Explicit experimental evidence for the effectiveness of proximity as mate-guarding behaviour in reducing extra-pair fertilization in the Seychelles warbler. Mol Ecol 16:3679–3688PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Krokene C, Anthonisen K, Lifjeld JT, Amundsen T (1996) Paternity and paternity assurance behaviour in the bluethroat, Luscinia s. svecica. Anim Behav 52:405–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Laskemoen T, Kleven O, Fossøy F, Lifjeld JT (2007) Intraspecific variation in sperm length in two passerine species, the bluethroat Luscinia svecica and the willow warbler Phylloscopus trochilus. Ornis Fenn 84:131–139Google Scholar
  22. Laskemoen T, Fossøy F, Rudolfsen G, Lifjeld JT (2008) Age-related variation in primary sexual characters in a passerine with male age-related fertilization success, the bluethtroat (Luscinia svecica). J Avian Biol (in press)Google Scholar
  23. Lifjeld JT, Dunn PO, Westneat DF (1994) Sexual selection by sperm competition in birds: male–male competition or female choice. J Avian Biol 25:244–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lifjeld JT, Laskemoen T, Fossøy F, Johnsen A, Kleven O (2007) Functional infertility among territorial males in two passerine species, the willow warbler Phylloscopus trochilus and the bluethroat Luscinia svecica. J Avian Biol 38:267–272Google Scholar
  25. Michl G, Török J, Griffith SC, Sheldon BC (2002) Experimental analysis of sperm competition mechanisms in a wild bird population. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 99:5466–5470PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Petrie M, Kempenaers B (1998) Extra-pair paternity in birds: explaining variation between species and populations. Trends Ecol Evol 13:52–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pizzari T, Cornwallis CK, Løvlie H, Jakobsson S, Birkhead TR (2003) Sophisticated sperm allocation in male fowl. Nature 426:70–74PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Schmoll T, Dietrich V, Winkel W, Epplen JT, Schurr F, Lubjuhn T (2005) Paternal genetic effects on offspring fitness are context dependent within the extrapair mating system of a socially monogamous passerine. Evolution 59:645–657PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Stapleton MK, Kleven O, Lifjeld JT, Robertson RJ (2007) Female tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) increase offspring heterozygosity through extrapair mating. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 61:1725–1733CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Svensson L (1992) Identification guide to European passerines. Lars Svensson, StockholmGoogle Scholar
  31. Trivers RL (1972) Parental investment and sexual selection. In: Campbell B (ed) Sexual selection and the descent of man 1871–1971. Aldine, Chicago, pp 136–179Google Scholar
  32. Wagner RH, Schug MD, Morton ES (1996) Condition-dependent control of paternity by purple martins: implications for coloniality. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 38:379–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Westneat DF (1994) To guard or go forage: conflicting demands affect the paternity of male red-winged blackbirds. Am Nat 144:343–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arild Johnsen
    • 1
  • Henrik Pärn
    • 2
  • Frode Fossøy
    • 1
    • 2
  • Oddmund Kleven
    • 1
  • Terje Laskemoen
    • 1
  • Jan T. Lifjeld
    • 1
  1. 1.National Centre for Biosystematics, Natural History MuseumUniversity of OsloBlindernOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of BiologyNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway

Personalised recommendations