Flexible timing of reproductive effort as an alternative mating tactic in black grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) males

in Behaviour
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Alternative reproductive tactics often take the form of dichotomous behavioural phenotypes. Focusing attention on such obvious dichotomy means that flexible patterns of behaviour within tactics is largely ignored. Using a long-term dataset of black grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) lek behaviours, we tested whether there were fine-scale differences in reproductive effort (lek attendance, fighting rates) and whether these were related to age and phenotype. Yearling males increased their lek attendance and fighting rate to a peak when adult male effort was declining. Adults and yearlings allocated reproductive effort according to their body mass but this was unrelated to differences in timing of effort. In adult males, different patterns of lek attendance were associated with different costs of reproduction, measured by mass loss or gain. Overall, our work demonstrates that individuals can use flexible patterns of reproductive effort both in terms of their own condition, their age and the likely costs of behaviours.

Flexible timing of reproductive effort as an alternative mating tactic in black grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) males

in Behaviour

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Figures

  • View in gallery

    Mean ± SE individual daily lek attendance (a) and daily fighting rates (b) of males across the lekking season. Filled squares represent adult males and open squares yearling males. Days have been scaled so that on day 0, ⩾50% of all copulations have occurred.

  • View in gallery

    Surface plot showing the individual daily lek attendance in relation to the day and body mass of (a) adult males and (c) yearling males and the individual daily fighting rate in relation to the day and body mass (b) adult males and (d) yearling males. Days have been scaled so that on day 0, ⩾50% of all copulations have occurred. This figure is published in colour in the online edition of this journal, which can be accessed via http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/1568539x.

  • View in gallery

    Surface plot showing the interaction between individual daily lek attendance, day and the mass loss between pre- and post-lekking for adult males (N=15 males, 148 observations). Mass loss is presented so that negative values indicate large mass loss and positive values indicate mass gain. Days have been scaled so that on day 0, ⩾50% of all copulations have occurred. This figure is published in colour in the online edition of this journal, which can be accessed via http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/1568539x.

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