Infanticide in great reed warblers: secondary females destroy eggs of primary females

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Infanticide in great reed warblers: secondary females destroy eggs of primary females. / Hansson, Bengt; Bensch, Staffan; Hasselquist, Dennis.

I: Animal Behaviour, Vol. 54, Nr. 2, 1997, s. 297-304.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Infanticide in great reed warblers: secondary females destroy eggs of primary females

AU - Hansson, Bengt

AU - Bensch, Staffan

AU - Hasselquist, Dennis

PY - 1997

Y1 - 1997

N2 - In 1993-1995 artificial nests with attached model eggs were put into territories that were known to have been occupied by male great reed warblers, Acrocephalus arundinaceus, in previous years. Because the eggs were made of soft plasticine, predators left peckmarks in them and this enabled us to identify predators by comparing peckmarks with reference marks made by Various species. Previous field data had suggested that infanticidal behaviour existed in our study population, as nests of primary females suffered a three times higher rate of nest loss during the egg-laying period than nests of secondary and monogamous females. The presence of infanticide was supported by the experiment. Small peckmarks resembling those of a great reed warbler occurred almost exclusively in territories occupied by great reed warblers, in particular when a new female settled in the territory. The newly settled females built nests closer to depredated than non-depredated nests. That small peckmarks occurred when new females settled strongly suggests that it is secondary female great reed warblers that commit infanticide on eggs of primary females. Females of low harem rank are expected to gain from infanticidal behaviour because a low ranked female gets a higher proportion of male parental investment when the nest of the primary female fails. (C) 1997 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

AB - In 1993-1995 artificial nests with attached model eggs were put into territories that were known to have been occupied by male great reed warblers, Acrocephalus arundinaceus, in previous years. Because the eggs were made of soft plasticine, predators left peckmarks in them and this enabled us to identify predators by comparing peckmarks with reference marks made by Various species. Previous field data had suggested that infanticidal behaviour existed in our study population, as nests of primary females suffered a three times higher rate of nest loss during the egg-laying period than nests of secondary and monogamous females. The presence of infanticide was supported by the experiment. Small peckmarks resembling those of a great reed warbler occurred almost exclusively in territories occupied by great reed warblers, in particular when a new female settled in the territory. The newly settled females built nests closer to depredated than non-depredated nests. That small peckmarks occurred when new females settled strongly suggests that it is secondary female great reed warblers that commit infanticide on eggs of primary females. Females of low harem rank are expected to gain from infanticidal behaviour because a low ranked female gets a higher proportion of male parental investment when the nest of the primary female fails. (C) 1997 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

KW - sexually selected infanticide

KW - acrocephalus-arundinaceus

KW - mate

KW - attraction

KW - polygyny

KW - threshold

KW - conflict

KW - polygamy

KW - swallows

KW - takeover

KW - birds

U2 - 10.1006/anbe.1996.0484

DO - 10.1006/anbe.1996.0484

M3 - Article

VL - 54

SP - 297

EP - 304

JO - The British Journal of Animal Behaviour

T2 - The British Journal of Animal Behaviour

JF - The British Journal of Animal Behaviour

SN - 1095-8282

IS - 2

ER -