Mate fidelity in a population of Island Canaries ( Serinus canaria ) in the Madeiran Archipelago

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2003
Authors:Voigt, C, Leitner, S, Gahr, M
Journal:Journal of Ornithology
Date Published:2003
ISBN Number:2193-7192
Keywords:Fringillidae, Serinus, Serinus canaria, Serinus serinus
Abstract:Previous studies have shown that extra-pair paternity occurs less frequently in island populations than in mainland populations. This is thought to be due mainly to the low genetic variability in island populations but non-genetic factors have also been discussed. Here we report the results of a parentage analysis in a population of island canaries ( Serinus canaria ) on a small uninhabited island in the Madeiran archipelago. Island canaries are socially monogamous, non-migratory seasonal breeders where biparental care is essential for offspring survival. Multilocus DNA-fingerprinting provided no evidence of extra-pair-paternity in 15 families comprising 45 juveniles. The band sharing coefficient for presumably unrelated breeding pairs was low (0.17 ± 0.03), an indication that genetic variability within the population is similar to most non-island populations of other species. Females did not seek extra-pair copulations and actively rejected sexual approaches from males other than their mate. We propose that female island canaries assess the quality of males during a perid outside the breeding season and optimise their mate choice according to learned preferences.
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