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Cichlids do not adjust reproductive skew to the availability of independent breeding options

Title data

Heg, Dik ; Bergmüller, Ralph ; Bonfils, Danielle ; Otti, Oliver ; Bachar, Zina ; Burri, Reto ; Heckel, Gerald ; Taborsky, Michael:
Cichlids do not adjust reproductive skew to the availability of independent breeding options.
In: Behavioral Ecology. Vol. 17 (June 2006) Issue 3 . - pp. 419-429.
ISSN 1465-7279
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arj056

Abstract in another language

Helpers in cooperatively breeding species forego all or part of their reproduction when remaining at home and assisting breeders to raise offspring. Different models of reproductive skew generate alternative predictions about the share of reproduction unrelated subordinates will get depending on the degree of ecological constraints. Concession models predict a larger share when independent breeding options are good, whereas restraint and tug-of-war models predict no effects on reproductive skew. We tested these predictions by determining the share of reproduction by unrelated male and female helpers in the Lake Tanganyika cichlid Neolamprologus pulcher depending on experimentally manipulated possibilities for helper dispersal and independent breeding and depending on helper size and sex. We created 32 breeding groups in the laboratory, consisting of two breeders and two helpers each, where only the helpers had access to a nearby dispersal compartment with (treatment) or without (control) breeding substrate, using a repeated measures design. We determined the paternity and maternity of 1185 offspring from 47 broods using five to nine DNA microsatellite loci and found that: (1) helpers participated in reproduction equally across the treatments, (2) large male helpers were significantly more likely to reproduce than small helpers, and (3) male helpers engaged in significantly more reproduction than female helpers. Interestingly, in four broods, extragroup helper males had fertilized part of the brood. No helper evictions from the group after helper reproduction were observed. Our results suggest that tug-of-war models based on competition over reproduction within groups describe best the reproductive skew observed in our study system. Female breeders produced larger clutches in the treatment compared to the control situation when the large helpers were males. This suggests that male breeder-male helper reproductive conflicts may be alleviated by females producing larger clutches with helpers around.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER111942
Institutions of the University: Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Animal Ecology I
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Professorship Animal Population Ecology
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Professorship Animal Population Ecology > Professorship Animal Population Ecology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Heike Feldhaar
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 500 Natural sciences
500 Science > 570 Life sciences, biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2015 13:08
Last Modified: 02 May 2015 14:07
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/10853