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Frequency of multiple paternity in the grass snake (Natrix natrix)

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Males can enhance their reproductive success through mating with multiple females. For females, however, one mating is usually sufficient to inseminate all of their ova. Females may benefit from multiple mating by producing genetically more diverse offspring, and by having the opportunity to choose sperm of the genetically most compatible male. We used five microsatellite loci to investigate the occurrence and frequency of multiple paternity in 11 clutches of the grass snake (Natrix natrix) in Switzerland. Using a very conservative estimate (program GERUD), two or more fathers were found in 27% of the clutches. However, based on the maximum likelihood estimate (program COLONY), multiple paternity occurred in 91% of the clutches with 2-5 contributing males per female. This is the first investigation demonstrating multiple paternity in a European natricine, with a frequency similar to those found in new world natricines.

Affiliations: 1: Section of Conservation Biology, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Basel, St. Johanns-Vorstadt 10, 4056 Basel, Switzerland

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/content/journals/10.1163/156853812x634053
2012-01-02
2016-12-09

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