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Mating Systems in Animals

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Taylor Ewald

on 25 January 2013

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Transcript of Mating Systems in Animals

by taylor ewald Mating Systems in Mammals What is a Mating System? - A mating system is a way in which a group is structured in relation to sexual behavior.

- Mating systems are important to understand because they reflect the result of natural selection on mate choice, and on strategies for individual reproductive success.

- A mating system describes how males and females pair when choosing a mate.
- Males and females are very different in the investment each makes to reproduce, and may approach mating with different strategies - Mate choice is also a key element of mating systems. In most species, females are choosier when picking a mate than males.
- A reason for this is the higher investment females make in each gamete than males.
- Females may prefer certain males for a variety of reasons, including "good genes", meaning that the male has traits which predict better surviving offspring, good potential parenting by the male, or possession of resources by the male that will support the offspring during their growth and development. Female Mate Choice Monogamy Choosing Mates - Scientists observe mating systems and describe how males and females come together.

- When choosing mates, animals evolve species-typical strategies for maximizing their reproductive success.

- This results in considerable diversity among animal species in
their mating patterns. Female Mate Choices - In most species, females usually provide parental care. Females that choose their mate carefully, are at a lower risk of losing their "reproductive investment".
- Males may have strong traits that are favored by females.
- Females look at these strong traits as indicators of their potential partner's fitness.
- Selection favors females that choose males that will increase the likelihood of her offspring's success. Male Mate Choice - When males choose their mate, it often occurs when males are involved in caring for their offspring
- This can also occur when there is a variety in the quality of the females as mates in a population.
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If males are picky about their mate, then over time females may evolve ornamentation or coloration. The Different Mating Systems - Animals tend to have one of several mating systems; monogamous, polygamous, or promiscuous.
-Mating relationships may or may not be associated with social relationships in which the sexual partners stay together to become parenting partners. -Monogamy: Occurs when a single male mates with a single female - Most common in birds, rare in other animals - Both contribute to the defense and parental care of offspring - Monogamy reduces the potential for genetic variation among a female's offspring.

-By mating with more than one male over the course of her lifetime, a female gains higher genetic variation among her offspring Monogamy - The benefits of monogamy:
-shared parental care
- territorial resources

- These are maintained by having only one mate at a time, or by concealing extra-pair partnerships -Blue-footed boobies are monogamous, like many other birds. Promiscuity - Occurs when males and females in a population mate randomly and with multiple partners
- Might happen in species in which the environment is completely unpredictable and it is impossible to judge which mate might carry genes that would be good in the next generation
- A factor favoring promiscuity would be the inability of any animal to hold a territory and have total access to critical resources Promiscuity - Snowshoe hares show no sign of being territorial, or of having any sort of complex social system, - With this lack of a complex social system comes a promiscuous mating system - Female and male snowshoe hares mate with many partners - A sort of competition may occur among males
( some males may be more attractive to females and gain more matings) Polyandry - The mating of one female with more than one male while each male mates with only one female - The females compete for the males and are larger and more colorful, while the males take on the parental role. - Two major types of polyandry: simultaneous and sequential. - In simultaneous polyandry,the female has multiple smaller nesting territories with different males. The female mates with all males simultaneously, keeping control of the smaller territories. - Sequential polyandry is where the female mates and produces a clutch of eggs with one male, then leaves the male to move on to another male in a different nesting territory. - The female moves from one male to another, leaving the male in full responsibility of the eggs instead of sharing the responsibility like parents should. :) Polygyny - Polygyny- one male with multiple females. This mating system is found in a few birds and insects, but most common in mammals.
- Polygyny is a strategy used by males to increase their reproductive fitness.
- Some examples include the red-winged blackbird and house wren in North America .
- Polygyny is the most common form of polygamy
- Polygamy is a form of marriage in which a man has two or more wives at the same time.
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