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1 May 2000 BADGE SIZE AND EXTRA-PAIR FERTILIZATIONS IN THE HOUSE SPARROW
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Abstract

For House Sparrows, Passer domesticus, it has been proposed that the size of a male's throat badge correlates with his success in avoiding cuckoldry as well as obtaining extra-pair copulations (EPCs), and that females gain indirect (genetic) benefits from EPCs with large-badged males. Alternatively, female House Sparrows may engage in EPCs as a guard against their social mate's infertility. We used multi-locus DNA fingerprinting to examine paternity and found that among 41 broods and 136 offspring, 20% of the offspring were attributable to extra-pair fertilizations (EPFs). Forty-one percent of the 34 males were cuckolded; however, large-badged males were as likely to be cuckolded as small-badged males. Moreover, we found no evidence that large-badged males were inherently superior to small-badged males in terms of survivorship. We compared the prevalence of unhatched eggs in broods with and without extra-pair offspring to determine whether EPFs are associated with hatching failure. Although we detected no association between hatch failure and EPFs, enhanced fertility remains a plausible EPC benefit to females, but experimental approaches may be required to evaluate its significance.

R. R. Whitekiller, David F. Westneat, P. L. Schwagmeyer, and Douglas W. Mock "BADGE SIZE AND EXTRA-PAIR FERTILIZATIONS IN THE HOUSE SPARROW," The Condor 102(2), 342-348, (1 May 2000). https://doi.org/10.1650/0010-5422(2000)102[0342:BSAEPF]2.0.CO;2
Received: 22 July 1999; Accepted: 1 January 2000; Published: 1 May 2000
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