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Data from: Cost, risk, and avoidance of inbreeding in a cooperatively breeding bird

Citation

Leedale, Amy et al. (2020), Data from: Cost, risk, and avoidance of inbreeding in a cooperatively breeding bird, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.k6djh9w49

Abstract

Inbreeding is often avoided in natural populations by passive processes such as sex-biased dispersal. But, in many social animals, opposite-sexed adult relatives are spatially clustered, generating a risk of incest and hence selection for active inbreeding avoidance. Here we show that, in long-tailed tits (Aegithalos caudatus), a cooperative breeder that risks inbreeding by living alongside opposite-sex relatives, inbreeding carries fitness costs and is avoided by active kin discrimination during mate choice. First, we identified a positive association between heterozygosity and fitness, indicating that inbreeding is costly. We then compared relatedness within breeding pairs to that expected under multiple mate-choice models, finding that pair relatedness is consistent with avoidance of first-order kin as partners. Finally, we show that the similarity of vocal cues offers a plausible mechanism for discrimination against first-order kin during mate choice. Long-tailed tits are known to discriminate between the calls of close kin and nonkin, and they favor first-order kin in cooperative contexts, so we conclude that long-tailed tits use the same kin discrimination rule to avoid inbreeding as they do to direct help toward kin.

Funding

Natural Environment Research Council, Award: 1517208

Natural Environment Research Council, Award: NE/I027118/1