Data from: Fitness consequences of female alternative reproductive tactics in house mice (Mus musculus domesticus)
Ferrari, Manuela; Lindholm, Anna K.; König, Barbara (2018), Data from: Fitness consequences of female alternative reproductive tactics in house mice (Mus musculus domesticus), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.k1s0c7h
Alternative reproductive tactics are defined as discrete differences in morphological, physiological and/or behavioral traits associated with reproduction, which occur within the same sex and population. House mice provide a rare example for alternative reproductive tactics in females, which can either rear their young solitarily, or together with one or several other females in a communal nest. We assessed the fitness consequences of communal and solitary breeding in a wild population to understand how the two tactics can be evolutionarily stable. Females switched between the two tactics (with more than 50% of all females having two or more litters using both tactics), pointing towards communal and solitary breeding being two tactics within a single strategy and not two genetically determined strategies. Communal breeding resulted in reduced pup survival and negatively impacted female reproductive success. Older and likely heavier females more often reared their litters solitarily, indicating that females use a condition dependent strategy. Solitary breeding seems the more successful tactic and only younger and likely less competitive females might opt for communal nursing, even at the cost of increased pup mortality. This study emphasizes the importance of analyzing phenotypic plasticity and its role in cooperation in the context of female ARTs.