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Data from: Evidence of phenotypic plasticity of penis morphology and delayed reproductive maturation in response to male competition in waterfowl

Citation

Brennan, Patricia L. R.; Prum, Richard O.; Feng, Derek (2018), Data from: Evidence of phenotypic plasticity of penis morphology and delayed reproductive maturation in response to male competition in waterfowl, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.mh577

Abstract

Ducks are an excellent group to study avian genital evolution. Penis morphology of ducks is diverse, and penis length and elaboration are positively correlated with levels of male competition resulting from forced extra-pair copulations, and with female genital elaboration resulting from sexual conflict. Here we examined whether penis morphology is affected by social environment. We found experimental evidence that in a male-biased social environment, consisting of several males and fewer females, the penis in Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) grew longer in 2 separate years, than in males housed in pairs, as predicted if male–male competition influences penis morphology. In Ruddy Ducks (Oxyura jamaicensis), males instead showed evidence of reproductive delays that were explained both by a male's size and his social environment: most males in social groups exhibited shorter penises, variable onset and duration of genital maturation, and faster penis growth rate. These 2 species have different levels of post-copulatory competition in nature, with Ruddy Ducks having more extreme penis sizes and more promiscuity than Lesser Scaup. The results suggest that waterfowl can exhibit complex, socially dependent phenotypic plasticity and reproductive maturation that can generate intraspecific variation in their genitalia.

Usage Notes

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: IOS- 0920344