One for all and all for one: phenotype assortment and reproductive success in masculinized females

Correa, Loreto A.; Leon, Cecilia; Ramirez-Estrada, Juan; Ly-Prieto, Alvaro; Abades, Sebastian; Hayes, Loren D.; Soto-Gamboa, Mauricio; Ebensperger, Luis A.


Homophily by morphological and behavioral traits has been described in several species of vertebrates, but its functional consequences remain poorly studied. Homophily by plurally breeding females may improve direct fitness by enhancing reproductive success. Female mammals may exhibit phenotypical masculinization due to exposure to androgens during early development, a condition that is associated with maternal performance during subsequent breeding. Our goal was to assess whether female composition (in terms of masculinization) of plurally breeding groups influences female fitness in a natural population of degus (Octodon degus). We assessed if plurally breeding female degus assort themselves by anogenital distance (AGD), an accurate measure of masculinization level. We also quantified if homophily by AGD phenotype affects female reproductive success and the reproductive output of the group. Plurally breeding groups typically included similarly masculinized (i.e., long AGD) females or similarly feminized (short AGD) females, indicating a strong degree of homophily. Females weaned more offspring in plurally breeding groups with more masculinized females. Additionally, standardized variance in the number of offspring weaned decreased in plurally breeding groups with mostly masculinized females, indicating greater reproductive equality in these groups. We conclude that female degus organize into homophilic social groups of similar AGD, and that social groups of masculinized females exhibit a higher reproductive success.

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Título según WOS: One for all and all for one: phenotype assortment and reproductive success in masculinized females
Título de la Revista: BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY
Volumen: 32
Número: 6
Fecha de publicación: 2021
Página de inicio: 1266
Página final: 1275


Notas: ISI