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Adjustment of costly extra-group paternity according to inbreeding risk in a cooperative mammal

Nichols, HJ and Cant, MA and Sanderson, JL Adjustment of costly extra-group paternity according to inbreeding risk in a cooperative mammal. Behavioral Ecology. ISSN 1465-7279 (Accepted)

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Abstract

Females of many animal species seek mating opportunities with multiple males, despite being able to obtain sufficient sperm to father their offspring from a single male. In animals that live in stable social groups, females often choose to mate outside their group resulting in extra-group paternity. One reason proposed to explain female choice for extra-group males is to obtain compatible genes, for example in order to avoid inbreeding depression in offspring. The benefits of such extra-group paternities could be substantial if they result in fitter, outbred offspring. However, avoiding inbreeding in this way could be costly for females, for example through retaliation by cuckolded males or through receiving aggression whilst prospecting for extra-group mating opportunities. We investigate the costs and benefits of extra-group paternity in the banded mongoose Mungos mungo, a cooperatively breeding mammal in which within-group mates are sometimes close relatives. We find that pups born to females that mate with extra-group males are more genetically heterozygous, are heavier and are more likely to survive to independence than pups born to females that mate within their group. However, extra-group matings also involve substantial costs as they occur during violent encounters that sometimes result in injury and death. This appears to lead female banded mongooses to adaptively adjust extra-group paternity levels according to the current risk of inbreeding associated with mating within the group. For group-living animals, the costs of inter-group interactions may help to explain variation in both inbreeding rates and extra-group paternity within and between species.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Behavioral Ecology Published by Oxford University Press.
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0602 Ecology, 0603 Evolutionary Biology, 0608 Zoology
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QL Zoology
S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2015 11:51
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2015 11:51
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/1352

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