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Female and male plumage colour is linked to parental quality, pairing and extra-pair mating in a tropical passerine

Citation

Leitão, Ana V.; Hall, Michelle L.; Mulder, Raoul A. (2020), Female and male plumage colour is linked to parental quality, pairing and extra-pair mating in a tropical passerine, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.j6q573nck

Abstract

Sexual selection has been proposed to drive the evolution of elaborate phenotypic traits in males, which often confer success in competition or mating. However, in many species both males and females display such traits, although studies investigating selection acting in both sexes are scarce. In this study, we investigated whether plumage ornamentation is sexually selected in female and male lovely fairy-wrens Malurus amabilis, a cooperatively breeding songbird. We found that female and male plumage colour was correlated with parental quality but not with individual quality and survival. We also found evidence of positive assortative mating based on plumage colour. Microsatellite analyses of paternity indicated that the lovely fairy-wren has high levels of extra-pair paternity, with 53% of offspring (in 58% of broods, of 57% of females) resulting from extra-pair mating. Female and male plumage colour did not predict reproductive success or the proportion of extra-pair offspring in their own nest, but less colourful males obtained higher extra-pair paternity when paired with more colourful females, and gained overall higher total paternity (own nest and other nests). We argue that plumage colour may be under sex-specific selection, highlighting the importance of looking at both sexes in studies of sexual selection and ornament evolution. The current findings together with previous study, suggest that plumage colour in female and male lovely fairy-wrens appears to be an honest signal relevant in both intra and inter-sexual competition contexts.

Methods

Detailed methods describing the dataset collection can be found in Leitão, Hall and Mulder "Female and male plumage colour is linked to parental quality, pairing and extra-pair mating in a tropical passerine".

Usage Notes

Please see the readme file for detailed descriptions of all files and variables included in the provided data files. 

 

Funding

Australia and Pacific Science Foundation, Award: APSF1406

Australian Research Council, Award: DP150101652

BirdLife Australia, Award: 2015 to A.V.L.