Advanced

The starling mating system as an outcome of the sexual conflict

Smith, Henrik LU and Sandell, Maria LU (2005) In Evolutionary Ecology 19(2). p.151-165
Abstract
Many bird species demonstrate a variable mating system, with some males being monogamously mated and other males able to attract more than one mate. This variation in avian mating systems is often explained in terms of potential costs of sharing breeding partners and compensation for such costs. However, whenever there is a difference in the optimal mating system for males and females, a sexual conflict over the number of partners is expected. This paper contains a verbal model of how a conflict between male and female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris),resulting from the fitness consequences of different mating systems for males and females differing over time, determines the mating system. We demonstrate that males and females have... (More)
Many bird species demonstrate a variable mating system, with some males being monogamously mated and other males able to attract more than one mate. This variation in avian mating systems is often explained in terms of potential costs of sharing breeding partners and compensation for such costs. However, whenever there is a difference in the optimal mating system for males and females, a sexual conflict over the number of partners is expected. This paper contains a verbal model of how a conflict between male and female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris),resulting from the fitness consequences of different mating systems for males and females differing over time, determines the mating system. We demonstrate that males and females have contrasting fitness interests regarding mating system, such that males gain from attracting additional mates whereas already mated females pay a cost in terms of reduced reproductive success if males are successful in attracting more mates. We demonstrate how this can be traced to the rules by which males allocate non-sharable care between different broods. Furthermore, we demonstrate that there exist male and female conflict behaviours with the potential to affect the mating system. For example, aggression from already mated females towards prospecting females can limit male mating success and males can circumvent this by spacing the nest-sites they defend. The realised mating system will emerge as a consequence of both the fitness value of the different mating systems for males and females, and the costs for males and females of intersexual competition. We discuss how this model can be developed and critically evaluated in the future. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Evolutionary Ecology
volume
19
issue
2
pages
151 - 165
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • wos:000231806500005
  • scopus:24644447039
ISSN
1573-8477
DOI
10.1007/s10682-004-7915-5
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
a5b01bde-9611-47c8-9df0-015b6d926054 (old id 145414)
date added to LUP
2007-06-25 15:44:30
date last changed
2017-01-01 04:59:01
@article{a5b01bde-9611-47c8-9df0-015b6d926054,
  abstract     = {Many bird species demonstrate a variable mating system, with some males being monogamously mated and other males able to attract more than one mate. This variation in avian mating systems is often explained in terms of potential costs of sharing breeding partners and compensation for such costs. However, whenever there is a difference in the optimal mating system for males and females, a sexual conflict over the number of partners is expected. This paper contains a verbal model of how a conflict between male and female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris),resulting from the fitness consequences of different mating systems for males and females differing over time, determines the mating system. We demonstrate that males and females have contrasting fitness interests regarding mating system, such that males gain from attracting additional mates whereas already mated females pay a cost in terms of reduced reproductive success if males are successful in attracting more mates. We demonstrate how this can be traced to the rules by which males allocate non-sharable care between different broods. Furthermore, we demonstrate that there exist male and female conflict behaviours with the potential to affect the mating system. For example, aggression from already mated females towards prospecting females can limit male mating success and males can circumvent this by spacing the nest-sites they defend. The realised mating system will emerge as a consequence of both the fitness value of the different mating systems for males and females, and the costs for males and females of intersexual competition. We discuss how this model can be developed and critically evaluated in the future.},
  author       = {Smith, Henrik and Sandell, Maria},
  issn         = {1573-8477},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {151--165},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Evolutionary Ecology},
  title        = {The starling mating system as an outcome of the sexual conflict},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10682-004-7915-5},
  volume       = {19},
  year         = {2005},
}