A monogamous mating system that includes extrapair fertilization can potentially generate higher variability in male reproductive success than monogamy without extrapair fertilization. That increased variability could provide a correspondingly higher opportunity for sexual selection and, thus, for the origin and persistence of sexual dimorphism in monogamous species. To determine whether extrapair fertilization enhanced the opportunity for sexual selection in a sexually dimorphic, monogamous bird species, we used microsatellite DNA typing to assess the prevalence of extrapair fertilization and its effect on variation in male reproductive success in a population of Chestnut-sided Warblers (Dendroica pensylvanica). We found that the level of extrapair fertilization in our study population was at the upper end of the range reported for bird populations (47% of nestlings had extrapair fathers; 61% of broods contained extrapair offspring). We also discovered that almost all extrapair offspring were sired by paired males resident on nearby territories. In addition, we found that variation in male reproductive success was substantially higher than variation in female reproductive success, and that extrapair fertilizations made a significant contribution to variation in male reproductive success. Together, those findings suggest that extrapair fertilization creates an opportunity for sexual selection on male traits in this population.
|Number of pages||8|
|State||Published - Jul 2004|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology