Number of mates and timing of mating affect offspring growth in the small marsupial Antechinus agilis

Fisher, D. O., Double, M. C. and Moore, B. D. (2006) Number of mates and timing of mating affect offspring growth in the small marsupial Antechinus agilis. Animal Behaviour, 71 2: 289-297. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2005.03.041


Author Fisher, D. O.
Double, M. C.
Moore, B. D.
Title Number of mates and timing of mating affect offspring growth in the small marsupial Antechinus agilis
Journal name Animal Behaviour   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0003-3472
Publication date 2006-02-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.anbehav.2005.03.041
Volume 71
Issue 2
Start page 289
End page 297
Total pages 9
Place of publication London
Publisher Elsevier Science Ltd
Language eng
Subject 270707 Sociobiology and Behavioural Ecology
270706 Life Histories (incl. Population Ecology)
Abstract Many fitness benefits of polyandry have been proposed. We addressed four hypotheses that are relevant to the agile antechinus, Antechinus agilis, a highly promiscuous marsupial: polyandry (1) involves females 'trading up' to obtain good genes for offspring; (2) promotes sperm competition/sperm choice to obtain good genes; (3) enables females to avoid genetically incompatible gene combinations (specifically inbreeding); or (4) enables females to avoid infertility. We tested the predictions of these hypotheses using female choice trials, manipulative mating experiments and microsatellite analysis of paternity. Because timing of mating affects fertility and prenatal abnormality rates in this species, we also tested whether it affects offspring growth rates. We found support for a genetic benefit of polyandry: offspring of polyandrous females grew faster than offspring of monandrous females, and this effect was more pronounced for females that mated close to ovulation. However, although larger males sire more offspring in the wild in this species, females did not initially choose large mates and did not 'trade up' based on male size. We found no evidence of genetic incompatibility effects. Monandrous females were not less likely to conceive than polyandrous females, although females in the wild are more likely to encounter infertile and subfertile males than in this study. Females that mated closer to ovulation had slower-growing litters. We conclude that female antechinuses benefit through increased offspring growth rates by mating with multiple males, and by mating several days before ovulation. (c) 2005 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keyword Behavioral Sciences
Zoology
Cricket Gryllus-bimaculatus
Genetic Incompatibility
Reproductive Success
Inbreeding Avoidance
Stuartii Marsupialia
Paternity Success
Sexual Selection
Field Population
Natal Dispersal
Dasyuridae
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
Ecology Centre Publications
 
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Created: Sat, 26 Jan 2008, 02:46:34 EST