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Experimental evidence that kin discrimination in the Seychelles warbler is based on association and not on genetic relatedness

Komdeur, J; Richardson, David LU and Burke, T (2004) In Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences 271(1542). p.963-969
Abstract
In cooperative breeding systems driven by kin selection, effective kin-recognition cues are important. Recognition could be achieved by the direct assessment of the genetic relatedness of individuals or by learning through association. In the Seychelles warbler, Acrocephalus sechellensis, female subordinates maximize indirect fitness by preferentially helping genetically related nestlings. Help seems to be based on the continued presence of the primary female who previously fed the subordinate in the nest but it has, so far, been impossible to discount the direct assessment of genetic relatedness. We used a cross-fostering experiment to separate the two possible cues. Adult birds did not discriminate between their own and cross-fostered... (More)
In cooperative breeding systems driven by kin selection, effective kin-recognition cues are important. Recognition could be achieved by the direct assessment of the genetic relatedness of individuals or by learning through association. In the Seychelles warbler, Acrocephalus sechellensis, female subordinates maximize indirect fitness by preferentially helping genetically related nestlings. Help seems to be based on the continued presence of the primary female who previously fed the subordinate in the nest but it has, so far, been impossible to discount the direct assessment of genetic relatedness. We used a cross-fostering experiment to separate the two possible cues. Adult birds did not discriminate between their own and cross-fostered eggs or nestlings. Cross-fostering resulted in nestlings that were unrelated to the primary female that raised them, but control nestlings were closely related to their primary females. The proportions of cross-fostered and control female offspring that stayed and became helpers on their 'natal' territory were similar. However, for both groups the chance of becoming a subordinate helper was associated with the continued presence of the primary female and not with any other factor tested. Our study provides strong evidence that helping decisions are based on associative-learning cues. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
kin discrimination, cooperative breeding, Seychelles warbler, associative learning, kin recognition, genetic relatedness
in
Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences
volume
271
issue
1542
pages
963 - 969
publisher
Royal Society
external identifiers
  • wos:000221199600011
  • pmid:15255052
  • scopus:2342568380
ISSN
1471-2954
DOI
10.1098/rspb.2003.2665
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
2daee393-7fe4-4cc2-82f6-86195fc9ad57 (old id 279669)
date added to LUP
2007-10-23 19:09:17
date last changed
2017-11-05 04:26:45
@article{2daee393-7fe4-4cc2-82f6-86195fc9ad57,
  abstract     = {In cooperative breeding systems driven by kin selection, effective kin-recognition cues are important. Recognition could be achieved by the direct assessment of the genetic relatedness of individuals or by learning through association. In the Seychelles warbler, Acrocephalus sechellensis, female subordinates maximize indirect fitness by preferentially helping genetically related nestlings. Help seems to be based on the continued presence of the primary female who previously fed the subordinate in the nest but it has, so far, been impossible to discount the direct assessment of genetic relatedness. We used a cross-fostering experiment to separate the two possible cues. Adult birds did not discriminate between their own and cross-fostered eggs or nestlings. Cross-fostering resulted in nestlings that were unrelated to the primary female that raised them, but control nestlings were closely related to their primary females. The proportions of cross-fostered and control female offspring that stayed and became helpers on their 'natal' territory were similar. However, for both groups the chance of becoming a subordinate helper was associated with the continued presence of the primary female and not with any other factor tested. Our study provides strong evidence that helping decisions are based on associative-learning cues.},
  author       = {Komdeur, J and Richardson, David and Burke, T},
  issn         = {1471-2954},
  keyword      = {kin discrimination,cooperative breeding,Seychelles warbler,associative learning,kin recognition,genetic relatedness},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1542},
  pages        = {963--969},
  publisher    = {Royal Society},
  series       = {Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences},
  title        = {Experimental evidence that kin discrimination in the Seychelles warbler is based on association and not on genetic relatedness},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2003.2665},
  volume       = {271},
  year         = {2004},
}