Differential allocation in a lekking bird: females lay larger eggs and are more likely to have male chicks when they mate with less related males
Sardell RJ., DuVal EH.
The differential allocation hypothesis predicts increased investment in offspring when females mate with high-quality males. Few studies have tested whether investment varies with mate relatedness, despite evidence that non-additive gene action influences mate and offspring genetic quality. We tested whether female lekking lance-tailed manakins (Chiroxiphia lanceolata) adjust offspring sex and egg volume in response to mate attractiveness (annual reproductive success, ARS), heterozygosity and relatedness. Across 968 offspring, the probability of being male decreased with increasing parental relatedness but not father ARS or heterozygosity. This correlation tended to diminish with increasing lay-date. Across 162 offspring, egg volume correlated negatively with parental relatedness and varied with lay-date, but was unrelated to father ARS or heterozygosity. Offspring sex and egg size were unrelated to maternal age. Comparisons of maternal half-siblings in broods with no mortality produced similar results, indicating differential allocation rather than covariation between female quality and relatedness or sex-specific inbreeding depression in survival. As males suffer greater inbreeding depression, overproducing females after mating with related males may reduce fitness costs of inbreeding in a system with no inbreeding avoidance, while biasing the sex of outbred offspring towards males may maximize fitness via increased mating success of outbred sons.