Fighting behaviour as a correlate of male mating success in black grouse Tetrao tetrix

Hämäläinen , Anni and Alatalo, Rauno V. and Lebigre, Christophe and Siitari, Heli and Soulsbury, Carl D. (2012) Fighting behaviour as a correlate of male mating success in black grouse Tetrao tetrix. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 66 (12). pp. 1577-1586. ISSN 0340-5443

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00265-012-1411-7

Abstract

Fighting is a fundamental determinant of male fitness in species where females prefer socially dominant males as mates or where dominants can prevent subordinates from mating. This in turn can lead to the evolution of honest inter- and intra-sexual cues of male dominance. Fighting as a behaviour comprises both fighting rate (number of fights per unit of time) and fighting performance (success in winning fights), but it is not always clear which of these components are important for female choice and how they link to signals of male quality. To quantify the relative importance of fighting as a cue for females, we recorded detailed behavioural data from male black grouse Tetrao tetrix at leks. We explored the relationship between phenotypic traits (body mass, eye comb size, tail (lyre) length and blue chroma colouration) and fighting performance and rates and how these were related to male mating success. In older males' pairwise fights, winners had lower blue chroma than losers, but there were no differences in other morphological traits. In yearlings, no morphological trait predicted success in pairwise contests. Both fighting rate and performance were positively related to the number of copulations acquired by a male; however, when controlled for lek centrality, fighting performance and not fighting rate was significantly related to mating success. Our results indicate that females may be using components of fighting behaviour as cues for mate choice.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Fighting is a fundamental determinant of male fitness in species where females prefer socially dominant males as mates or where dominants can prevent subordinates from mating. This in turn can lead to the evolution of honest inter- and intra-sexual cues of male dominance. Fighting as a behaviour comprises both fighting rate (number of fights per unit of time) and fighting performance (success in winning fights), but it is not always clear which of these components are important for female choice and how they link to signals of male quality. To quantify the relative importance of fighting as a cue for females, we recorded detailed behavioural data from male black grouse Tetrao tetrix at leks. We explored the relationship between phenotypic traits (body mass, eye comb size, tail (lyre) length and blue chroma colouration) and fighting performance and rates and how these were related to male mating success. In older males' pairwise fights, winners had lower blue chroma than losers, but there were no differences in other morphological traits. In yearlings, no morphological trait predicted success in pairwise contests. Both fighting rate and performance were positively related to the number of copulations acquired by a male; however, when controlled for lek centrality, fighting performance and not fighting rate was significantly related to mating success. Our results indicate that females may be using components of fighting behaviour as cues for mate choice.
Keywords:lek, fighting, black grouse
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:7010
Deposited By: Carl Soulsbury
Deposited On:04 Dec 2012 18:59
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 09:20

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