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Extrapair paternity in the red bishop (Euplectes orix): is there evidence for the good-genes hypothesis?

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We investigated the pattern and frequency of extrapair paternity in a colony of the red bishop, a sexually dimorphic and highly polygynous passerine. In particular, we tested whether there was evidence in support of the good-genes hypothesis, stating that females seek extrapair copulations with high-quality males to enhance the genetic quality of their offspring. Paternity analysis of 432 nestlings from 187 broods using non-radioactive multilocus DNA-fingerprinting revealed that 17.6% of nestlings were extrapair young (EPY) and 30.5% of all broods investigated contained at least one EPY. In a pairwise comparison, extrapair fathers were found to have significantly longer tarsi than the within-pair fathers they cuckolded. Furthermore, extrapair fathers were more often territory owners in the previous season,


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