Learn More
Females in a variety of species commonly mate with multiple males, and there is evidence that they benefit by producing offspring of higher genetic quality; however, the nature of these genetic benefits is debated. Enhanced offspring survival or quality can result from intrinsic effects of paternal genes---'good genes'--or from interactions between the(More)
Allocation trade-offs between the immune system and sexual traits are central to current sexual selection hypotheses but remain contentious. Such trade-offs could be brought about by the dual action of testosterone that stimulates sexual signals but also suppresses immune functions and/or by competition for carotenoids that can be deposited in ornaments or(More)
Female mate choice is often based on exaggerated sexual traits, signals of male qualities that females cannot assess directly. Two such key qualities are male immune and/or sexual competence, whereby honesty in signalling could be maintained by physiological trade-offs. Carotenoid-based ornaments likely constitute such honest signals, as there is direct(More)
In socially monogamous species, extra-pair paternity can increase the variance in reproductive success and thereby the potential for sexual selection on male ornaments. We studied whether male secondary sexual ornaments are selected through within- and/or extra-pair reproductive success in the blue tit (Parus caeruleus). Male blue tits display a bright blue(More)
BACKGROUND Increased variability in sexually selected ornaments, a key assumption of evolutionary theory, is thought to be maintained through condition-dependence. Condition-dependent handicap models of sexual selection predict that (a) sexually selected traits show amplified variability compared to equivalent non-sexually selected traits, and since males(More)
Condition-dependence is a central but contentious tenet of evolutionary theories on the maintenance of ornamental traits, and this is particularly true for structural plumage colour. By providing diets of different nutritional quality to moulting male and female blue tits, we experimentally manipulated general condition within the natural range, avoiding(More)
BACKGROUND Plumage coloration is important for bird communication, most notably in sexual signalling. Colour is often considered a good quality indicator, and the expression of exaggerated colours may depend on individual condition during moult. After moult, plumage coloration has been deemed fixed due to the fact that feathers are dead structures. Still,(More)
BACKGROUND Carotenoids are frequently used by birds to colour their plumage with green, yellow, orange or red hues, and carotenoid-based colours are considered honest signals of quality, although they may have other functions, such as crypsis. It is usually assumed that red through yellow colours have a signalling function while green is cryptic. Here we(More)
Classical sexual selection theory provides a well-supported conceptual framework for understanding the evolution and signalling function of male ornaments. It predicts that males obtain greater fitness benefits than females through multiple mating because sperm are cheaper to produce than eggs. Sexual selection should therefore lead to the evolution of(More)
Carotenoids are widely heralded as central to honest signaling due to their dual roles as pigments and antioxidants/immunostimulants. The aim of this study is to test if diet quality and carotenoids alone or in an interaction influence condition, carotenoid availability in plasma and immune responsiveness. Therefore, a diet experiment during the moult of(More)