Subordinate Seychelles warblers accurately maximise indirect benefits using a simple rule-of-thumb

Richardson, D.S. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7226-9074, Komdeur, J. and Burke, T. (2003) Subordinate Seychelles warblers accurately maximise indirect benefits using a simple rule-of-thumb. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 16. pp. 854-861. ISSN 1420-9101

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Abstract

In cooperative breeding vertebrates, indirect fitness benefits would be maximized by subordinates that accurately assess their relatedness to group offspring and preferentially help more closely related kin. In the Seychelles warbler (Acrocephalus sechellensis), we found a positive relationship between subordinate-nestling kinship (determined using microsatellite marker genotypes) and provisioning rates, but only for female subordinates. Female subordinates that helped were significantly more related to the nestlings than were nonhelpers, and the decision to help appears to be based on associative learning cues. High levels of female infidelity means that subordinates cannot trust their legitimacy through the male line, consequently they appear to use the continued presence of the primary female, but not the primary male, as a reliable cue to determine when to feed nestlings. By using effective discrimination, female subordinates are able to maximize the indirect benefits gained within a cooperative breeding system otherwise driven primarily by direct breeding benefits.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
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: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2010 13:37
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2024 00:09
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/851
DOI: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.2003.00592.x

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