Data from: A small badge of longevity: opposing survival selection on the size of white and black wing markings
Sepp, Tuul et al. (2016), Data from: A small badge of longevity: opposing survival selection on the size of white and black wing markings, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.gc60p
According to handicap principle, exaggerated ornamental traits are supposed to exert costs on their bearers. However, there is much less theoretical and practical consensus about whether and under which conditions ornament expression should positively correlate with survival. We measured age-related variation and survival selection on the size of white wing patches and black wing tips in a long-lived monogamous seabird, the common gull Larus canus. Males had larger white patches than females but patch size showed concave relationship with age irrespective of sex, suggesting that white patch size was prone to senescence in both sexes. Extent of wing tip abrasion correlated negatively with the size of white patch, suggesting, in agreement with the Zahavian handicap hypothesis that only individuals with largest ornaments are able of maintaining them and not paying cost of displaying them. Areas of white wing patches and black wing tips correlated negatively. Irrespective of sex, survival selection favored birds with larger white wing patches and smaller black wing tips, which suggests that white and black wing markings may have coevolved as reverse components of a single ornament. Altogether, our results provide an evidence for the case where survival selection on ornamental traits in females is not weaker than in males. Absence of sex differences with respect to most of observed patterns is consistent with a prediction that among monogamous long-lived species with biparental care, mutual mate choice leads to evolution of elaborate ornamental traits in both sexes.