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Consequences of sibling rivalry vary across life in a passerine bird

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Abstract

Many studies have assessed the costs of sibling rivalry in systems where offspring always have competitors, but conclusions about sibling rivalry in these species are restricted to interpreting the cost of changes in the relative level of competition and are often complicated by the expression of potentially costly rivalry related traits. Additionally, the majority of studies focus on early-life sibling rivalry, but the costs of competition can also affect later-life performance. We test a suite of hypothesized immediate (early-life body mass, telomere length, and survival) and delayed (adult reproductive potential and lifespan) costs of sibling rivalry for offspring of differing competitive ability in Seychelles warblers, where most offspring are raised singly and hence competitor success can be compared to a competition-free scenario. Compared to those raised alone, all competing nestlings had lower body mass and weaker competitors experienced reduced survival. However, the stronger competitors appeared to have longer adult breeding tenures and lifespan than those raised alone. We propose that comparisons with competition-free groups, as well as detailed fitness measures across entire lifetimes, are needed to understand the evolution of sibling rivalry and thus individual reproductive strategy in wild systems.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-418
JournalBehavioral Ecology
Volume28
Issue number2
Early online date19 Dec 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017
Peer-reviewedYes

Keywords

    Research areas

  • sibling rivalry, competition, telomere, lifetime fitness, reproductive investment, Seychelles warbler

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