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Malaria infection status predicts extra-pair paternity in the blue tit
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2015 (English)In: Journal of Avian Biology, ISSN 0908-8857, E-ISSN 1600-048X, Vol. 46, no 3, 303-306 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Extra-pair matings comprise a common reproductive strategy among socially monogamous bird species. However, it remains unclear why females decide to mate with extra-pair males. Indirect benefits in terms of improving offspring genetic quality are usually invoked to explain this phenomenon. Parasite resistance genes are often considered as a female target of seeking extra-pair matings, but the direct test of this hypothesis is generally lacking. Here, we report on a relationship between the status of infection with malaria parasites (Plasmodium and Haemoproteus) and occurrence of extra-pair paternity in a wild population of the blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus inhabiting Gotland (Sweden). We found that the probability of extra-pair paternity is significantly related to the infection status of social parents. Infected males showed higher probability of being cuckolded than uninfected ones. However, this was observed only among males mated to uninfected females. Thus, avian malaria may potentially contribute to explanation of extra-pair mating behaviour.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 46, no 3, 303-306 p.
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-257036DOI: 10.1111/jav.00599ISI: 000355622400009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-257036DiVA: diva2:828132
Available from: 2015-06-29 Created: 2015-06-29 Last updated: 2015-06-29Bibliographically approved

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Gustafsson, Lars
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Animal ecology
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