Data from: Bi-parental versus cooperative breeding in a passerine: fitness-maximizing strategies of males in response to risk of extra-pair paternity?
Du, Bo; Lu, Xin (2010), Data from: Bi-parental versus cooperative breeding in a passerine: fitness-maximizing strategies of males in response to risk of extra-pair paternity?, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1701
In socially monogamous species, males that risk cuckoldry more than others might gain inclusive fitness by yielding paternity to relatives. We tested this prediction in the Tibetan ground tit Pseudopodoces humilis, an unusual facultative cooperative breeder wherein most helpers (87% males) join a mated pair shortly before clutch completion. Extra-pair paternity among bi-parental broods occurred less often (26% of broods, 9% of young) compared to cooperative broods (68%, 25%). In the former, most extra-pair sires (88%) were pair breeders unrelated to the cuckolded males whereas in the latter, sires (87%) were mainly helpers related to the dominant male. Brood productivity did not differ between the bi-parental and cooperative breeders, but helpers' partitioning over group paternity reduced the realized reproductive success of helped males. After taking inclusive fitness into account, however, there was no difference in success of dominant males between the two social systems. One possible explanation for the differences in the rates of cuckoldry in the two systems was body size, for pair-bond males in bi-parental situations were significantly larger than those in cooperative ones. We propose two alternative strategies for males to maximize fitness: breed as a pair if large to avoid cuckoldry from helpers, or breed cooperatively if small but compromise some paternity to relatives. Our results provide an unusual route to the incidence of cooperative groups, based on constraints imposed by low competitive ability of breeding males rather than some external ecological or demographic factors.