Variance in within-pair reproductive success influences the opportunity for selection annually and over the lifetimes of males in a multibrooded songbird

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In socially monogamous species, male reproductive success consists of “within-pair” offspring produced with their socially paired mate(s), and “extra-pair” offspring produced with additional females throughout the population. Both reproductive pathways offer distinct opportunities for selection in wild populations, as each is composed of separate components of mate attraction, female fecundity, and paternity allocation. Identifying key sources of variance and covariance among these components is a crucial step toward understanding the reproductive strategies that males use to maximize fitness both annually and over their lifetimes. We use 16 years of complete reproductive data from a population of black-throated blue warblers (Setophaga caerulescens) to partition variance in male annual and lifetime reproductive success, and thereby identify if the opportunity for selection varies over the lifetimes of individual males and what reproductive strategies likely favor maximum lifetime fitness. The majority of variance in male reproduction was attributable to within-pair success, but the specific effects of individual components of variance differed between total annual and total lifetime reproductive success. Positive overall lifetime covariance between within-pair and extra-pair components indicates that males able to maximize within-pair success, particularly with double-brooding females, likely achieve higher overall lifetime fitness via both within-pair and extra-pair reproductive pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

    Research areas

  • Double brooding, female fecundity, sexual selection, within-pair reproduction

ID: 255836170