Age, condition and dominance-related sexual ornament size before and during the breeding season in the black grouse Lyrurus tetrix

Type Article
Date 2018-07
Language English
Author(s) Harris Sarah1, Kervinen Matti2, 3, Lebigre ChristopheORCID4, Pike Thomas W.1, Soulsbury Carl D.1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Lincoln, Joseph Banks Labs, Sch Life Sci, Lincoln, England.
2 : Univ Jyvaskyla, Dept Biol & Environm Sci, Jyvaskyla, Finland.
3 : Finnish Wildlife Agcy, Kuopio, Finland.
4 : IFREMER, Unite Sci & Technol Halieut, Ctr Bretagne, Plouzane, France.
Source Journal Of Avian Biology (0908-8857) (Wiley), 2018-07 , Vol. 49 , N. 7 , P. e01648 (12p.)
DOI 10.1111/jav.01648
WOS© Times Cited 2
Keyword(s) age, ornament expression, dominance

Male ornaments function as honest cues of male quality in many species and are subject to intra‐ and intersexual selection. These ornaments are generally studied during peak expression, however their size outside the breeding season may determine ultimate ornament size and costliness, and as such reproductive success. We investigated whether male black grouse Lyrurus tetrix eye comb size was related to age, condition and measures of male dominance before and during the breeding season. Total combined eye comb size began to increase ~70 days before the start of the breeding season. Adult males (aged ≥ 2 years old) had consistently larger eye combs than younger males (1 year old) both before and during the breeding season. Heavier and more dominant adult males (attending the lek more frequently and successfully reproducing) had larger eye combs. For younger males, those that were heavier had larger eye combs. Additionally, males that spent more time on the lek showed increased eye comb size as the breeding season approached. Overall we find that ornament size is positively related to dominance and condition before and during the breeding season. Since dominance is accrued through year‐round interactions in many species, the ability to maintain larger signals over prolonged periods, including outside of the breeding season, is likely to be beneficial for adults. For younger males, it is likely that they cannot sustain or are constrained from producing larger eye combs over long periods of time. They therefore prioritise growth of their ornaments later, and according to the amount of time they spend on the lek.

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Harris Sarah, Kervinen Matti, Lebigre Christophe, Pike Thomas W., Soulsbury Carl D. (2018). Age, condition and dominance-related sexual ornament size before and during the breeding season in the black grouse Lyrurus tetrix. Journal Of Avian Biology, 49(7), e01648 (12p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :