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Female mating status and reproductive success in the great reed warbler: Is there a potential cost of polygyny that requires compensation?

Bensch, Staffan LU (1996) In Journal of Animal Ecology 65(3). p.283-296
Abstract
1. Using data from a 9-year study of the great reed warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus L. carried out in Sweden, I tested the main assumption of the polygyny threshold model (that there is a cost of polygyny) and the main prediction (that this cost is compensated for). The main question was whether a female that chose a mated male (secondary females) experienced the same fitness as a female that at the same time chose an unmated male (primary females). The study includes a total of 192 breeding seasons of 104 individual females of which 40% settled with already mated males. 2. Eight potential correlates of fitness were examined; namely, clutch size, hatching success, hedging success, survival until breeding age, nest survival, mass of... (More)
1. Using data from a 9-year study of the great reed warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus L. carried out in Sweden, I tested the main assumption of the polygyny threshold model (that there is a cost of polygyny) and the main prediction (that this cost is compensated for). The main question was whether a female that chose a mated male (secondary females) experienced the same fitness as a female that at the same time chose an unmated male (primary females). The study includes a total of 192 breeding seasons of 104 individual females of which 40% settled with already mated males. 2. Eight potential correlates of fitness were examined; namely, clutch size, hatching success, hedging success, survival until breeding age, nest survival, mass of fledglings, mass of feeding females and annual survival rate of breeding females. I started each analysis by controlling for four potential confounding variables (year, study site, female age and breeding date). Then I compared the average fitness measure of primary and secondary females. 3. The only detected potential component cost of polygyny was a higher mortality among nestlings if a non-primary position within the harem was retained until hatching. This was supported by a natural experiment. Females that initially chose mated males but which achieved a primary position after failure of the originally primary female's nest enjoyed an increased fledging success, probably because of more male assistance. 4. The number of recruits, controlling for settling dates, for the two categories of females were almost identical (primary females 0 . 53 recruits per year, secondary females 0 . 51 recruits per year). Since secondary and primary females showed similar rates of survival until next breeding season the fitness of the two strategies appears to be equal. These findings strongly suggest that polygyny in the great reed warbler is best explained by the compensation models such as the polygyny threshold model. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
territory quality, blackbird agelaius-phoeniceus, red-winged blackbirds, ficedula-hypoleuca, acrocephalus-arundinaceus, mate, birds, evolution, choice, attraction, threshold-model, Acrocephalus arundinaceus, adult survival, polygyny threshold model, recruits
in
Journal of Animal Ecology
volume
65
issue
3
pages
283 - 296
publisher
Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd
external identifiers
  • scopus:0029750367
ISSN
1365-2656
project
Wild great reed warblers
Breeding ecology of great reed warblers
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
7be104e2-be8b-4a50-8940-d91f5b26040a (old id 1747520)
alternative location
http://www.jstor.org/stable/5875
date added to LUP
2011-02-23 12:49:57
date last changed
2017-01-01 04:37:22
@article{7be104e2-be8b-4a50-8940-d91f5b26040a,
  abstract     = {1. Using data from a 9-year study of the great reed warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus L. carried out in Sweden, I tested the main assumption of the polygyny threshold model (that there is a cost of polygyny) and the main prediction (that this cost is compensated for). The main question was whether a female that chose a mated male (secondary females) experienced the same fitness as a female that at the same time chose an unmated male (primary females). The study includes a total of 192 breeding seasons of 104 individual females of which 40% settled with already mated males. 2. Eight potential correlates of fitness were examined; namely, clutch size, hatching success, hedging success, survival until breeding age, nest survival, mass of fledglings, mass of feeding females and annual survival rate of breeding females. I started each analysis by controlling for four potential confounding variables (year, study site, female age and breeding date). Then I compared the average fitness measure of primary and secondary females. 3. The only detected potential component cost of polygyny was a higher mortality among nestlings if a non-primary position within the harem was retained until hatching. This was supported by a natural experiment. Females that initially chose mated males but which achieved a primary position after failure of the originally primary female's nest enjoyed an increased fledging success, probably because of more male assistance. 4. The number of recruits, controlling for settling dates, for the two categories of females were almost identical (primary females 0 . 53 recruits per year, secondary females 0 . 51 recruits per year). Since secondary and primary females showed similar rates of survival until next breeding season the fitness of the two strategies appears to be equal. These findings strongly suggest that polygyny in the great reed warbler is best explained by the compensation models such as the polygyny threshold model.},
  author       = {Bensch, Staffan},
  issn         = {1365-2656},
  keyword      = {territory quality,blackbird agelaius-phoeniceus,red-winged blackbirds,ficedula-hypoleuca,acrocephalus-arundinaceus,mate,birds,evolution,choice,attraction,threshold-model,Acrocephalus arundinaceus,adult survival,polygyny threshold model,recruits},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {283--296},
  publisher    = {Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd},
  series       = {Journal of Animal Ecology},
  title        = {Female mating status and reproductive success in the great reed warbler: Is there a potential cost of polygyny that requires compensation?},
  volume       = {65},
  year         = {1996},
}