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Willow tit

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Through extrapair matings, males can sire additional offspring with low cost and females may look for direct benefits in form of food or additional paternal care or gain genetic benefits that increase offspring fitness. We studied the patterns of female mate choice and frequency of extrapair paternity in the socially monogamous willow tit Parus montanus using microsatellites. We also examined the effect of heterozygosity on the growth rate and survival of the chicks. We found 25 mixed‐paternity broods out of 117 broods of which both parents were sampled. Altogether, 6.7% of sampled chicks were classified as extrapair young. The pairwise relatedness of social pairs did not correlate with the percentage of extrapair young in the brood and there was no difference in heterozygosity between promiscuous and monogamous parents. However, the extrapair young were more heterozygous than the within‐pair young in the mixed‐paternity broods. The maternal half‐siblings in mixed paternity broods were similar in body size. Thus, there was no indication for different growth rate between the siblings, but there were indications that heterozygosity affects survival.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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