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Does mate guarding prevent rival mating in snow skinks? A test using AFLP


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Olsson, M and Ujvari, B and Wapstra, E and Madsen, T and Shine, R and Bensch, S (2005) Does mate guarding prevent rival mating in snow skinks? A test using AFLP. Herpetologica, 61 (4). pp. 389-394. ISSN 1938-5099

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We report on likely mixed paternity in a natural population of snow skinks (Niveoscincus
mirolepidotus) from alpine Tasmania, Australia. This species is nonterritorial and males guard females after
copulation, suggesting that guarding behavior has evolved to prevent rival mating of still-receptive females. To
what degree does this mate-guarding prevent rival copulations? We sampled gravid females at random in the
wild and looked for within-clutch mixed paternity among their offspring using amplified fragment length
polymorphism (AFLP). Incorporating all visualized fragments, offspring band-sharing based on maternal
bands was 0.94 (60.05, SD), whereas for paternal fragments it was 0.54 (60.46, SD). We then tested paternal
band-sharing scores for all young of pairs against the mean score of the maternally inherited fragments to
assess whether paternal genetic variation was larger than for a known single parent, hence, suggesting multiple
sires. To reduce the risk of unequal sampling of polymorphic maternal and paternal fragments, we based our
statistical tests on heterozygous bands only. Offspring band sharing based on maternal heterozygous fragments
was on average 0.68 (60.22, SD), versus 0.35 (60.33, SD) based on paternally inherited fragments. In six of
eight clutches (75%), at least one pair of young in a clutch had paternal scores outside of the confidence
interval for a single parent (i.e., the mother). Thus, mixed paternity seems to be widespread in this population,
despite prolonged postcopulatory mate-guarding by males.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: AFLP; Lizards; Mate guarding; Multiple paternity
Journal or Publication Title: Herpetologica
Page Range: pp. 389-394
ISSN: 1938-5099
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1655/04-85.1
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2007 03:08
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:23
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