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The effects of delayed plumage maturation on aggression and survival in male red-backed fairy-wrens

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dc.contributor.author Karubian, Jordan en
dc.contributor.author Sillett, T. Scott en
dc.contributor.author Webster, Michael S. en
dc.date.accessioned 2008-07-31T15:52:02Z
dc.date.available 2008-07-31T15:52:02Z
dc.date.issued 2008
dc.identifier.citation Karubian, Jordan, Sillett, T. Scott, and Webster, Michael S. 2008. "<a href="https://repository.si.edu/handle/10088/6024">The effects of delayed plumage maturation on aggression and survival in male red-backed fairy-wrens</a>." <em>Behavioral Ecology</em>. 508&ndash;516. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arm159">https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arm159</a> en
dc.identifier.issn 1045-2249
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10088/6024
dc.description.abstract The occurrence of multiple phenotypes within a sex of a single species has long puzzled behavioral ecologists. Male red-backed fairy-wrens Malurus melanocephalus exhibit 3 behaviorally distinct types in their first breeding season: breed in bright nuptial plumage, breed in dull plumage, or remain as an unpaired auxiliary (helper) with dull plumage. The retention of dull plumage by auxiliaries and dull breeders is an example of delayed plumage maturation (DPM), a widespread phenomenon in birds whose costs and benefits are not well understood. At a mechanistic level, DPM might allow dull males either to deceptively mimic females (female mimicry hypothesis) or to honestly signal their subordinate status (status-signaling hypothesis). DPM might function via either mechanism to provide ultimate benefits relative to developing nuptial plumage by increasing reproductive success, survival, or both. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that DPM is related to increased male survival in the red-backed fairy-wren via either female mimicry or status signaling. Aviary-based experiments revealed that dull males were perceived as male, which is consistent with the status-signaling hypothesis but contradicts the female mimicry hypothesis. Further aviary and field-based experiments also revealed that dull males were socially subordinate to bright males and received less aggression than bright males, further evidence for status signaling. However, male survival was not related to plumage coloration or breeding status. These findings indicate that male plumage coloration signals social status but that dull plumage does not afford a net survival advantage, perhaps because plumage color is a conditional strategy. en
dc.format.extent 374616 bytes
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.relation.ispartof Behavioral Ecology en
dc.title The effects of delayed plumage maturation on aggression and survival in male red-backed fairy-wrens en
dc.type Journal Article en
dc.identifier.srbnumber 68834
dc.identifier.doi 10.1093/beheco/arm159
rft.jtitle Behavioral Ecology
rft.issue 3
rft.spage 508
rft.epage 516
dc.description.SIUnit NZP en
dc.description.SIUnit crc en
dc.citation.spage 508
dc.citation.epage 516

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