The female perspective of mating in A. femoralis, a territorial frog with paternal care - a spatial and genetic analysis

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Abstract

The adaptive significance of sequential polyandry is a challenging question in evolutionary and behavioral biology. Costs and benefits of different mating patterns are shaped by the spatial distribution of individuals and by genetic parameters such as the pairwise relatedness between potential mating partners. Thus, females should become less choosy as costs of mating and searching for mates increase. We used parentage assignments to investigate spatial and genetic patterns of mating across a natural population of the Neotropical frog Allobates femoralis, a species characterized by male territoriality and care and female iteroparity. There was no correlation between genetic and spatial distances between adult individuals across the population. In 72% of cases, females mated with males available within a radius of 20 m. Mean pairwise relatedness coefficients of successful reproducers did not differ from random mating but had a lower variance than expected by chance, suggesting maximal reproductive output at intermediate genetic divergence. We also found evidence for selection in favor of more heterozygous individuals between the embryo and adult stage. The level of sequential polyandry significantly increased with the number of spatially available males. Females that had more candidate males also produced more adult progeny. We hypothesize that the benefits associated with female multiple mating outweigh the costs of in- and outbreeding depression, and consequently precluded the evolution of 'choosy' mate selection in this species. © 2012 Ringler et al.

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Ringler, E., Ringler, M., Jehle, R., & Hödl, W. (2012). The female perspective of mating in A. femoralis, a territorial frog with paternal care - a spatial and genetic analysis. PLoS ONE, 7(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0040237

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