Polygynandry, extra-group paternity and multiple-paternity litters in European badger (Meles meles) social groups

Dugdale, Hannah L., Macdonald, David W., Pope, Lisa C. and Burke, Terry (2007) Polygynandry, extra-group paternity and multiple-paternity litters in European badger (Meles meles) social groups. Molecular Ecology, 16 24: 5294-5306. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2007.03571.x

Author Dugdale, Hannah L.
Macdonald, David W.
Pope, Lisa C.
Burke, Terry
Title Polygynandry, extra-group paternity and multiple-paternity litters in European badger (Meles meles) social groups
Journal name Molecular Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0962-1083
Publication date 2007-12-01
Year available 2007
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2007.03571.x
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 16
Issue 24
Start page 5294
End page 5306
Total pages 13
Place of publication OXFORD
Language eng
Abstract The costs and benefits of natal philopatry are central to the formation and maintenance of social groups. Badger groups, thought to form passively according to the resource dispersion hypothesis (RDH), are maintained through natal philopatry and delayed dispersal; however, there is minimal evidence for the functional benefits of such grouping. We assigned parentage to 630 badger cubs from a high-density population in Wytham Woods, Oxford, born between 1988 and 2005. Our methodological approach was different to previous studies; we used 22 microsatellite loci to assign parent pairs, which in combination with sibship inference provided a high parentage assignment rate. We assigned both parents to 331 cubs at >= 95% confidence, revealing a polygynandrous mating system with up to five mothers and five fathers within a social group. We estimated that only 27% of adult males and 31% of adult females bred each year, suggesting a cost to group living for both sexes. Any strong motivation or selection to disperse, however, may be reduced because just under half of the paternities were gained by extra-group males, mainly from neighbouring groups, with males displaying a mixture of paternity strategies. We provide the strongest evidence to date for multiple-paternity litters, and for the first time show that within-group and extra-group males can sire cubs in the same litter. We investigate the factors that may play a role in determining the degree of delayed dispersal and conclude that the ecological constraints hypothesis, benefits of philopatry hypothesis, and life history hypothesis may all play a part, as proposed by the broad constraints hypothesis.
Keyword Cervus
Extra Pair Copulation ( EPC)
mating system
reproductive skew
Eurasian Badgers
Genetic Diversity
Ecological Constraints
Resource Dispersion
Breeding Success
Mating System
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: ResearcherID Downloads - Archived
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