Jorge Luis Hurtado-Gonzales
Research: Does Polyandry Drive Sexual Selection in Andean Cock-of-the-rock Lek System?
Species/Topic: Andean cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruviana)
New research perspectives have started to question variations in female behavior. Specifically, does a female's reproductive success depend on her access to different mates rather than solely to a dominant male? Paternity analyses in a few lekking avian species have confirmed that in lek systems, polyandry is more frequent than expected and therefore, the variance in male reproductive success is much lower than in a uni-male mating system. Consequently, it is assumed that genetic benefits might include greater mean offspring fitness compared to lower values obtained after a single mating. This evidence supports preliminary observations that suggest that some females of the Andean cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruviana), a lek breeding bird, may be adopting a polyandrous mating strategy. Basically, females have been thought to follow a single pattern of mating:
- They visit a lek several times and are engaged in active choice.
- At the end, they choose the 'dominant’ male.
- They approach him and they leave the lek together.
These observations have also been supported by a two-year study of this species in Ecuador (Manosalvas 1993). This project aims to:
- Document the apparent female mating patterns of the Andean cock-of-the-rock (R. peruviana)
- Collect blood samples that will be used to address three other important objectives of this dissertation research:
- Determine patterns of fertilization by males.
- Determine whether there is a pattern of female choice from which benefits to females can be inferred.
- Determine patterns of relatedness among males in a lek.