UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Sex-specific nest defense in house sparrows (Passer domesticus) varies with badge size of males.


Reyer, H U; Fischer, W; Steck, P; Nabulon, T; Kessler, P (1998). Sex-specific nest defense in house sparrows (Passer domesticus) varies with badge size of males. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 42(2):93-99.

Abstract

According to indicator models of sexual selection, females can benefit from choosing males with above average epigamic traits, but empirical evidence for such benefits is scarce. Here, we report results from an experiment with 29 pairs of house sparrows (Passer domesticus) where the intensity of nest defense against a mounted mustelid predator was related to the size of the black throat and breast patch ("badge") in males. Using principal components analysis (PCA), original response variables of both sexes were reduced to two factors: "Approach" to the predator and "Distant warning". "Approach", the more risky behavior, increased from small- through medium- to large-badged males and decreased in their females. Since large-badged males have a higher certainty of paternity (i.e. greater benefits from defense) and may be older and more experienced (i.e. incur lower costs), the most likely explanation for male defense intensity increasing with badge size is an improving benefit/cost ratio. The resulting optimal response of their females and evolutionarily stable participation in joint parental care is illustrated by a graphical model. It shows that females would, indeed, benefit directly from choosing large-badged males. This, however, is no proof of a direct evolutionary tie between badge size and paternal behavior, as assumed by indicator models of sexual selection. It may simply represent a spurious relationship, originating from the correlation of badge size and defense with confidence of paternity.

According to indicator models of sexual selection, females can benefit from choosing males with above average epigamic traits, but empirical evidence for such benefits is scarce. Here, we report results from an experiment with 29 pairs of house sparrows (Passer domesticus) where the intensity of nest defense against a mounted mustelid predator was related to the size of the black throat and breast patch ("badge") in males. Using principal components analysis (PCA), original response variables of both sexes were reduced to two factors: "Approach" to the predator and "Distant warning". "Approach", the more risky behavior, increased from small- through medium- to large-badged males and decreased in their females. Since large-badged males have a higher certainty of paternity (i.e. greater benefits from defense) and may be older and more experienced (i.e. incur lower costs), the most likely explanation for male defense intensity increasing with badge size is an improving benefit/cost ratio. The resulting optimal response of their females and evolutionarily stable participation in joint parental care is illustrated by a graphical model. It shows that females would, indeed, benefit directly from choosing large-badged males. This, however, is no proof of a direct evolutionary tie between badge size and paternal behavior, as assumed by indicator models of sexual selection. It may simply represent a spurious relationship, originating from the correlation of badge size and defense with confidence of paternity.

Citations

28 citations in Web of Science®
29 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

211 downloads since deposited on 11 Feb 2008
52 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:1998
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:16
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:14
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0340-5443
Publisher DOI:10.1007/s002650050416
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-557

Download

[img]
Preview
Content: Accepted Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 376kB
View at publisher

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations