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Yolk androgens do not appear to mediate sexual conflict over parental investment in the collared flycatcher Ficedula albicollis


Ruuskanen, Suvi; Doligez, Blandine; Tschirren, Barbara; Pitala, Natalia; Gustafsson, Lars; Groothuis, Ton; Laaksonen, Toni (2009). Yolk androgens do not appear to mediate sexual conflict over parental investment in the collared flycatcher Ficedula albicollis. Hormones and Behavior, 55(4):514-519.

Abstract

Males and females are in conflict over parental care, as it would be favourable for one parent to shift labour to the other. Yolk hormones may offer a mechanism through which female birds could influence offspring traits in ways that increase the relative investment by the male. We studied the role of yolk androgens in mediating sexual conflict over parental care in the collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis). In a cross-fostering experiment, the male's proportion of total feeding visits increased with increasing androgen levels in the foster eggs. This could suggest that sexual conflict over parental care may be influenced by the female's differential allocation of yolk androgens or a maternal effect associated with yolk androgens. However, when we experimentally elevated yolk androgen levels, male feeding rates did not differ between control and androgen-manipulated nests. This suggests that other egg components correlated with yolk androgen levels, rather than yolk androgen levels per se, may influence male parental effort. In conclusion, yolk androgens per se do not appear to mediate sexual conflict over parental investment in the collared flycatcher.

Abstract

Males and females are in conflict over parental care, as it would be favourable for one parent to shift labour to the other. Yolk hormones may offer a mechanism through which female birds could influence offspring traits in ways that increase the relative investment by the male. We studied the role of yolk androgens in mediating sexual conflict over parental care in the collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis). In a cross-fostering experiment, the male's proportion of total feeding visits increased with increasing androgen levels in the foster eggs. This could suggest that sexual conflict over parental care may be influenced by the female's differential allocation of yolk androgens or a maternal effect associated with yolk androgens. However, when we experimentally elevated yolk androgen levels, male feeding rates did not differ between control and androgen-manipulated nests. This suggests that other egg components correlated with yolk androgen levels, rather than yolk androgen levels per se, may influence male parental effort. In conclusion, yolk androgens per se do not appear to mediate sexual conflict over parental investment in the collared flycatcher.

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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:April 2009
Deposited On:19 Apr 2013 12:50
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:44
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0018-506X
Funders:Turku University foundation, Emil Aaltonen foundation, French National Research Agency, French National Centre for Scientific Research, Janggen-Pöhn Stiftung, Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour, Basler Stiftung für Biologische Forschung, Swiss National Science Foundation
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yhbeh.2009.01.010
PubMed ID:19470362

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