Female mate choice for paternal care behaviour in African striped mice Rhabdomys pumilio: the role of experience

Rymer, Tasmin, Pillay, Neville, and Rymer, Tasmin (2010) Female mate choice for paternal care behaviour in African striped mice Rhabdomys pumilio: the role of experience. Behaviour, 147 (9). pp. 1101-1119.

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Abstract

Paternal care is a behavioural characteristic that can be selected for by females. By preferentially mating with 'good' fathers, females may directly increase their own reproductive success and may indirectly increase the prevalence of this trait in their sons. We investigated female mate choice in naturally paternal desert-dwelling African striped mice Rhabdomys pumilio. In two-way choice tests, we presented females with olfactory cues from males differing in levels of paternal care quality, paternal care experience, or mating experience. We predicted that females would prefer: (i) males showing higher levels of care; (ii) paternally experienced over paternally naïve males; and (iii) sexually experienced over sexually naïve males. Females did not distinguish between males of differing paternal care quality or paternal care experience, but maternally experienced females showed a preference for sexually experienced over sexually naïve males. Females may prefer sexually experienced males because these males are able to defend territories for breeding. We conclude that paternal care is selectively advantageous because of its apparent fitness benefits. Nonetheless, our study shows that paternal care has evolved independently of female choice in striped mice, since females did not choose between males of differing paternal care abilities.

Item ID: 29458
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1568-539X
Keywords: African striped mouse, female mate choice, olfactory cues, paternal care, Rhabdomys pumilio
Funders: National Research Foundation, University of the Witwatersrand
Projects and Grants: Grant number 2069110 (DOL Scarce Skills scholarship)
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2013 05:22
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060801 Animal Behaviour @ 80%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060809 Vertebrate Biology @ 20%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 80%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 20%
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