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Sexual Selection Through Female Choice in Lawes' Parotia, A Lek-Mating Bird of Paradise

S. G. Pruett-Jones and M. A. Pruett-Jones
Evolution
Vol. 44, No. 3 (May, 1990), pp. 486-501
DOI: 10.2307/2409431
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2409431
Page Count: 16
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Sexual Selection Through Female Choice in Lawes' Parotia, A Lek-Mating Bird of Paradise
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Abstract

We studied sexual selection in Lawes' Parotia, a lek-mating bird of paradise, during 1981-1983 in Papua New Guinea. There was a high variance in mating success among males, with fewer than half of the individuals mating in any one year. This variance was independent of male-male interactions and disruptions. A role of female choice in sexual selection was suggested by the patterns of female visitation to courts and statistical correlations across males between phenotypic traits and mating success. Females repeatedly visited most males in their home ranges and began visiting males up to six weeks before mating. In one or more years, six aspects of male behavior and one morphological variable were positively correlated with mating success, but the probability values were not significant using a simultaneous inference test. Calculation of combined probability values across all three years revealed that one aspect of male display behavior, the probability of display, positively and significantly influenced mating status. The probability of display was also significantly correlated with relative mating success among males. Females showed strong fidelity to mates, both within and between seasons. Display sites of male Lawes' Parotia are variably dispersed, but mating success did not differ for grouped and solitary males. These data confirm an important role of female choice in sexual selection in birds of paradise but also suggest that female choice may be unrelated to the process of lek-initiation in this species.

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