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Extra-Pair Paternity Declines with Female Age and Wing Length in the Pied Flycatcher

AuthorsMoreno Klemming, Juan ; Martínez, Juan Gabriel; González-Braojos, Sonia; Cantarero, Alejandro ; Ruiz-De-Castañeda, Rafael; Precioso, Marta; López-Arrabé, Jimena
KeywordsExtra-pair paternity
Female traits
Issue DateMay-2015
CitationEthology 121(5): 501-512 (2015)
AbstractDespite many studies of how male characteristics affect paternity in predominantly monogamous birds, relatively little attention has been given to the traits of females that may influence extra-pair paternity (EPP). However, the occurrence of EPP may be the result of behavioural interactions in which both male and female traits are important for determining the outcome. If EPP is driven mainly by female choice of extra-pair sires, older, more experienced or larger females would be better able to evade mate guarding tactics and more capable of selecting extra-pair mates and resisting unwanted suitors. This would be especially noticeable in females paired with unattractive mates. On the other hand, if EPP is driven mainly by male pursuit, we should expect that young, inexperienced or small females would be more exposed to coercive male approaches independently of social mate traits. In a study of an Iberian population of the pied flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca, we found that EPP affected 38% of the broods and 17% of the nestlings. These values are relatively high, allowing a relatively large number of affected within-pair mates to be included. We found that EPP is related to both female and male traits although not to any interaction between male and female traits. EPP was higher at nests tended by both younger and short-winged females and by browner males. Older females may be more experienced and dominant while long-winged females may be faster fliers, these traits enabling them to avoid extra-pair copulations, while brown males are less aggressive towards male intruders. In our study population, EPP appears to be caused by male pursuit, which in some cases may overwhelm female attempts to avoid extra-pair copulations and their social partner's ability to prevent them.
DescriptionReceived: November 24, 2014; Initial acceptance: December 17, 2014; Final acceptance: January 13, 2015
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/eth.12364
Appears in Collections:(MNCN) Artículos
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