Social pairing of Seychelles warblers under reduced constraints:MHC, neutral heterozygosity, and age

Wright, David J, Brouwer, Lyanne, Mannarelli, Maria-Elena, Burke, Terry, Komdeur, Jan and Richardson, David S ORCID: (2016) Social pairing of Seychelles warblers under reduced constraints:MHC, neutral heterozygosity, and age. Behavioral Ecology, 27 (1). pp. 295-303. ISSN 1045-2249

[thumbnail of Wright et al 2016]
PDF (Wright et al 2016) - Published Version
Download (851kB) | Preview


The prevalence and significance of precopulatory mate choice remains keenly debated. The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) plays a key role in vertebrate adaptive immunity, and variation at the MHC influences individual survival. Although MHC-dependent mate choice has been documented in certain species, many other studies find no such pattern. This may be, at least in part, because in natural systems constraints may reduce the choices available to individuals and prevent full expression of underlying preferences. We used translocations to previously unoccupied islands to experimentally reduce constraints on female social mate choice in the Seychelles warbler (Acrocephalus sechellensis), a species in which patterns of MHC-dependent extrapair paternity (EPP), but not social mate choice, have been observed. We find no evidence of MHC-dependent social mate choice in the new populations. Instead, we find that older males and males with more microsatellite heterozygosity are more likely to have successfully paired. Our data cannot resolve whether these patterns in pairing were due to male-male competition or female choice. However, our research does suggest that female Seychelles warblers do not choose social mates using MHC class I to increase fitness. It may also indicate that the MHC-dependent EPP observed in the source population is probably due to mechanisms other than female precopulatory mate choice based on MHC cues.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: mate choice,birds,mhc,genetic benefits,male age,translocation,heterozygosity
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Science
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Organisms and the Environment
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2016 09:31
Last Modified: 12 May 2023 00:01
DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arv150


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item