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Poster communications

Mate sharing in European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris

Abstract : Most models of sexual selection assume that females’ preferences for males with particular traits are genetically based. Nevertheless, social factors may also be implied: females may copy the mate choice of others instead of making their own selection. However, the benefit that females would draw from mate copying or from mating with a polygynous male is not clear, especially in species where males help to care for their young. We hypothesize that in starlings, polygyny and mate copying require that social bonding occurs between females, diminishing time and energy expenditure in useless aggressions and enabling females to choose most attractive males. We observed social bonding in females (n=15) in pre-breeding period and observed paring in a naturalistic setting with the same number of males (n=15). Our results showed the females that shared a same male were always socially linked ones (p=0.026) and also shared songs. Mated males sang more than the others (p=0.039), but neither the quality of their song, nor their morphology, was linked to mating success (p>0.05). This result suggests that social bonds between female starlings may influence their mate choice. Socially linked females seem to be more tolerant of each other and mate sharing between them can limit the costs associated with competition.
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Poster communications
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Submitted on : Friday, August 19, 2016 - 4:00:06 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 18, 2022 - 11:47:57 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-01354833, version 1


Laurence Henry, Cécile Bourguet, Marion Coulon, Martine Hausberger. Mate sharing in European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris. Behavior 2009 - 31st International Ethological Conference, Aug 2009, Rennes, France. ⟨hal-01354833⟩



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