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Mol Ecol. 2006 Sep;15(10):3035-43.

Long-term paternity skew and the opportunity for selection in a mammal with reversed sexual size dimorphism.

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1
School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1UG, UK. s.j.rossiter@qmul.ac.uk

Abstract

Most mammalian groups are characterized by male-biased sexual size dimorphism, in which size-dependent male-male competition and reproductive skew are tightly linked. By comparison, little is known about the opportunity for sexual selection in mammalian systems without male-biased dimorphism, where the traits under sexual selection might be less obvious. We examined 10 years of parentage data in a colony of greater horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) to determine the magnitude of male reproductive skew and the opportunity for sexual selection in a mammal in which females are the larger sex. Annual paternity success was weakly skewed but consistent patterns led to strong longitudinal paternity skew among breeders. Just three males accounted for a third of all paternity assignments, representing at least a fifth of all colony offspring born in a decade. Paternity success was in part determined by age but was not influenced by dispersal status. Our results show that paternity skew and the opportunity for sexual selection in a species with reversed sexual size dimorphism can approach levels reported for classical examples of species with polygyny and male-biased dimorphism, even where the traits under sexual selection are not known.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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