Male reproductive tactics and female choice in the solitary, promiscuous bridled nailtail wallaby (Onychogalea fraenata)

Sigg, Dominique P. and Goldizen, Anne W. (2006) Male reproductive tactics and female choice in the solitary, promiscuous bridled nailtail wallaby (Onychogalea fraenata). Journal of Mammalogy, 87 3: 461-469. doi:10.1644/05-MAMM-A-298R1.1

Author Sigg, Dominique P.
Goldizen, Anne W.
Title Male reproductive tactics and female choice in the solitary, promiscuous bridled nailtail wallaby (Onychogalea fraenata)
Journal name Journal of Mammalogy   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-2372
Publication date 2006-01-01
Year available 2006
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1644/05-MAMM-A-298R1.1
Open Access Status
Volume 87
Issue 3
Start page 461
End page 469
Total pages 9
Place of publication Lawrence
Publisher Alliance Communications Group Division Allen Press
Language eng
Subject C1
270203 Population and Ecological Genetics
771103 Living resources (flora and fauna)
0608 Zoology
Abstract Several behavioral studies of large, gregarious, and sexually dimorphic macropods have shown that males form dominance hierarchies and large males have the highest reproductive success. The bridled nailtail wallaby (Onychogalea fraenata) is a smaller and strongly sexually dimorphic macropod, but is also highly solitary and males do not form dominance hierarchies that are maintained temporally or spatially. Genetic studies of paternity have shown that large males are the most reproductively successful and only one-quarter of males sire offspring at any one time. The aim of this study was to investigate the tactics that males adopt to secure access to females at the time of estrus and to investigate whether females can influence which males have access to them. This study was conducted using 2 wild, free-ranging populations of bridled nailtail wallabies. Females in estrus were located and observed. and the total number of males present, the relative weight rank of each mate, and interactions between individuals were recorded. Females showed a preference for large males and incited male-male competition when the group of males present was large. Unlike other dimorphic macropods, fights among males were rare and were restricted to males of similar size. Large males gained access to females by guarding and following them closely and threatening other males who attempted to gain access. Smaller males spent less time with females, suggesting that small males may leave multimale groups in an attempt to locate unguarded females. Given the solitary nature of this species and the lack of a stable dominance hierarchy to influence male reproductive success. mate searching and mate guarding may be important male reproductive tactics in this species.
Keyword Female Choice
Mate Guarding
Mating System
Reproductive Tactics
Scramble-competition Polygyny
Male Mating Success
Sexual Selection
Elephant Seals
Mate Choice
Q-Index Code C1
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes DOI: 10.1644/05-MAMM-A-298R1.1

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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 18:59:13 EST