Data from: Assortative mating among animals of captive and wild origin following experimental conservation releases
Slade, Brendan et al. (2015), Data from: Assortative mating among animals of captive and wild origin following experimental conservation releases, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.15mk5
Captive breeding is a high profile management tool used for conserving threatened species. However, the inevitable consequence of generations in captivity is broad scale and often-rapid phenotypic divergence between captive and wild individuals, through environmental differences and genetic processes. Although poorly understood, mate choice preference is one of the changes that may occur in captivity that could have important implications for the reintroduction success of captive-bred animals. We bred wild-caught house mice for three generations to examine mating patterns and reproductive outcomes when these animals were simultaneously released into multiple outdoor enclosures with wild conspecifics. At release, there were significant differences in phenotypic (e.g. body mass) and genetic measures (e.g. Gst and F) between captive-bred and wild adult mice. Furthermore, 83% of offspring produced post-release were of same source parentage, inferring pronounced assortative mating. Our findings suggest that captive breeding may affect mating preferences, with potentially adverse implications for the success of threatened species reintroduction programmes.