Birds of Indian Subcontinent

Assortative mating and female clutch investment in black grouse

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1998
Authors:Rintam, Lundberg, A, Alatalo, RV, H
Journal:Animal Behaviour
Date Published:1998
ISBN Number:0003-3472
Keywords:Lyrurus, Lyrurus tetrix, Phasianidae
Abstract:Variation in female behaviour has only recently received attention in studies of sexual selection. It has been suggested that females may invest differentially in their offspring in relation to the quality of their mate. This may lead to females that mate with high-quality and/or attractive males laying larger clutches. Females may also differ in their ability to choose between males. For example, females in good physical condition may make better choices. If physical condition and clutch size are positively correlated, this hypothesis could also produce a relationship between male attractiveness and female clutch size. We found, in lekking black grouse,Tetrao tetrix, that females mated to the highest ranked males laid the largest clutches. Furthermore we found, regardless of female age, a positive relationship between a measure of female condition and male rank but not between female condition and her clutch size. In addition, females in good condition visited a larger number of different male territories, and old females produced the largest clutches. Our results suggest two mechanisms to explain our findings. First, females in good physical condition tend to mate with the top males, suggesting an assortative mating pattern. Second, females mating with the highest ranked males lay larger clutches as a consequence of their choice. In general, our result calls for caution in evaluating studies that look at the consequences of mate choice. It may be that differences in female quality produce effects that may be wrongly interpreted as male quality effects.
Short Title:Animal Behaviour
Taxonomic name: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith