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Female polyandry under male harassment: the case of the common toad (Bufo bufo)

Sztatecsny, M, Jehle, R, Burke, T and Hodl, W 2006, 'Female polyandry under male harassment: the case of the common toad (Bufo bufo)' , Journal of Zoology, 270 , pp. 517-522.

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Abstract

Several recent studies have demonstrated the occurrence of multiple paternity in anuran amphibians, implying that it is more common than previously thought. However, an adaptive explanation for polyandry in anurans is still lacking. The common toad Bufo bufo is an explosively breeding species that releases its eggs in strings. The operational sex ratio (OSR) is male biased, causing strong scramble competition among males; females can even drown through harassment during multiple amplexi. We used microsatellite markers to determine patterns of paternity in natural B. bufo populations and experimentally mated individuals (females exposed to either two or six males). Thirty per cent of field-collected and 22% of experimentally produced egg strings were sired by at least two males; all others were sired by a single father. Multiple paternities arose only from multiple amplexi, and we found no indication of fertilization from non-amplexing males, for example through free-swimming sperm. Our results suggest that polyandry in B. bufo is likely to occur most often at high population densities, and under the most male-biased OSRs. Moreover, polyandry might be interpreted as being the consequence of females spawning when amplexed by a few males, to avoid the risk of drowning by amplexus with multiple males.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: anura; Bufo bufo; microsatellites; multiple paternity; sex ratio; sexual conflict
Themes: Subjects / Themes > Q Science > QL Zoology
Subjects / Themes > Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology
Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Zoology
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0952-8369
Depositing User: Users 29196 not found.
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2009 11:34
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 16:00
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/2392

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