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Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 158, Issue 2, pp 517–532 | Cite as

Reproductive advantages of multiple female ornaments in the Asian Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica gutturalis

  • Masaru HasegawaEmail author
  • Emi Arai
  • Mamoru Watanabe
  • Masahiko Nakamura
Original Article

Abstract

Recent research has increasingly focused on female ornamentation, with several studies having investigated female ornaments in relation to reproduction. However, most previous studies have focused on single female ornaments, while females of numerous species, particularly birds, possess multiple ornaments. It is still unclear whether multiple female ornaments are linked to reproductive performance, though this information is crucial for understanding how these ornaments have been maintained. In this study, we examined the signaling function of multiple female ornaments in the Asian Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica gutturalis in Japan. First, females with previous breeding experience in the study population had longer tails and more colorful throat patches than other females. This indicates that these ornaments can provide information about the breeding experience of females to conspecifics. In contrast to males, the size of white tail spots was not significantly related to breeding experience in females, partly because females with larger white spots were less likely to return to breed after a failed clutch. Second, females with longer tails and more colorful throats started breeding earlier than others, even after controlling for confounding factors, and they paired with attractive males (thereby obtaining their direct and indirect benefits too), suggesting a mating advantage for females with such ornaments. In addition, males paired with long-tailed females invested more in paternal care. These observed patterns differed from those of males, for whom the throat coloration and the size of white tail spots, rather than tail length, were significant predictors. In fact, a sex-combined analysis of breeding date demonstrated significant interactions of sex in relation to tail length and the size of white tail spots, indicating differential selection between the sexes. Our data suggest that selection on females may facilitate the evolution and maintenance of some female ornaments, partially independently of male ornaments.

Keywords

Multiple ornaments Plumage coloration Quality indicator Sexual selection 

Zusammenfassung

Fortpflanzungsvorteile multipler weiblicher Ornamente bei der asiatischen Unterart der Rauchschwalbe ( Hirundo rustica gutturalis )

In letzter Zeit hat sich die Forschung zunehmend auf Ornamentierung bei Weibchen konzentriert, und mehrere Studien haben weibliche Ornamente in Bezug auf die Fortpflanzung untersucht. Die meisten vorherigen Studien haben sich jedoch auf einzelne Weibchenornamente konzentriert, während die Weibchen vieler Arten, insbesondere bei Vögeln, mehrere Ornamente besitzen. Nach wie vor ist unklar, ob multiple Weibchenornamente mit der Fortpflanzungsleistung in Verbindung stehen, obwohl diese Information entscheidend ist, um zu verstehen, wie diese Ornamente aufrechterhalten worden sind. In dieser Studie haben wir die Signalfunktion multipler Weibchenornamente bei der asiatischen Unterart der Rauchschwalbe (Hirundo rustica gutturalis) in Japan untersucht. Erstens hatten Weibchen mit vorheriger Bruterfahrung im Untersuchungsgebiet längere Schwänze und buntere Kehlflecken als andere Weibchen. Dies deutet darauf hin, dass die Ornamente Artgenossen über die Bruterfahrung von Weibchen informieren können. Anders als bei Männchen hing die Größe der weißen Schwanzflecken bei Weibchen nicht mit der Bruterfahrung zusammen, z.T. weil Weibchen mit größeren weißen Flecken nach einer erfolglosen Brut mit geringerer Wahrscheinlichkeit zum Brüten zurückkehrten. Zweitens begannen Weibchen mit längeren Schwänzen und bunteren Kehlflecken früher mit der Brut als andere, selbst wenn die statistische Analyse Störfaktoren berücksichtigte. Zudem waren diese Weibchen mit attraktiven Männchen verpaart (und erlangten auf diese Weise auch noch direkte und indirekte Fitnessvorteile), was darauf hindeutet, dass Weibchen mit solchen Ornamenten einen Paarungsvorteil besitzen. Des Weiteren investierten Männchen, die mit langschwänzigen Weibchen verpaart waren, mehr in die Brutpflege. Diese beobachteten Muster unterschieden sich von denen für Männchen, bei denen die Kehlfärbung und die Größe der weißen Schwanzflecken (und nicht die Schwanzlänge) als signifikante erklärende Variablen fungierten. In der Tat zeigte eine beide Geschlechter berücksichtigende Analyse des Brutdatums signifikante Interaktionen von Geschlecht in Bezug auf Schwanzlänge und Größe der weißen Schwanzflecken, was auf unterschiedliche Selektionsdrücke bei den Geschlechtern hindeutet. Unsere Daten lassen darauf schließen, dass auf Weibchen wirkender Selektionsdruck die Evolution und Aufrechterhaltung einiger Weibchenornamente fördern könnte, und zwar z.T. unabhängig von männlichen Ornamenten.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to the residents of Joetsu city for their kind support and assistance. We also thank the members of the Laboratory of Animal Ecology of Joetsu University of Education, and the Laboratory of Conservation Ecology of the University of Tsukuba, and anonymous referees. M. H. was supported by a Research Fellowship of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (15J10000).

Supplementary material

10336_2016_1401_MOESM1_ESM.docx (81 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 81 kb)

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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masaru Hasegawa
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Emi Arai
    • 2
  • Mamoru Watanabe
    • 1
  • Masahiko Nakamura
    • 2
  1. 1.Graduate School of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukuba-shiJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Animal Ecology, Department of BiologyJoetsu University of EducationJoetsu-shiJapan
  3. 3.Department of Evolutionary Studies of BiosystemsSokendai (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies)Hayama-machiJapan

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