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1 July 2013 Symmetry of Black Wingtips is Related to Clutch Size and Integument Coloration in Black-Legged Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla)
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Abstract

Fluctuating asymmetry has been suggested to be a phenotypic marker of developmental stability and is often seen as an indicator of overall quality. However, its role in sexual selection has been debated. To determine the potential role of black wingtip asymmetry in sexual selection in Black-legged Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla), we investigated whether symmetry was correlated with reproductive success and integument coloration, a trait probably sexually selected in this species. We found that, in males, asymmetry was associated with low clutch size and brood size but was independent of fledging success, which suggests that wingtip symmetry may reflect fertility in males. Asymmetry of black wingtip was also associated with duller integument, which emphasizes the potential importance of integument color in indicating individual quality. Further studies are needed to determine whether Black-legged Kittiwakes can discriminate between asymmetric and symmetric birds and use it as a cue in mate choice or intrasexual competition.

© 2013 by The American Ornithologists' Union. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press's Rights and Permissions website, http://www.ucpressjournals.com/reprintlnfo.asp.
Sarah Leclaire, Pierrick Blanchard, Joël White, Scott A Hatch, and Étienne Danchin "Symmetry of Black Wingtips is Related to Clutch Size and Integument Coloration in Black-Legged Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla)," The Auk 130(3), (1 July 2013). https://doi.org/10.1525/auk.2013.13044
Received: 7 March 2013; Accepted: 1 June 2013; Published: 1 July 2013
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