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Successive Polygamy

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[This study deals principally with successive polygyny in the Pied Flycatcher. The male Pied Flycatcher may have several territories. He can rarely protect both simultaneously. As a rule he keeps his different territories in his possession successively. When the female has started to lay eggs, and in certain cases even a day before this, the male often leaves her. He moves to another territory and may there acquire a new female. In most cases the new female begins to lay eggs at earliest 5-6 days after the first one. This is due to the fact that the "period of rapid growth" of the oöcytes requires five days in the Pied Flycatcher. The male then leaves the second female also. He may return to the first one, entirely abandoning the second. Or he may, after the first brood has become full-grown, return to the second female, or even feed both females at the same time. Simultaneous polygyny (the time between the egg-layings of the females 0-3 days) occurs in rare instances. In these cases the male had two nest-boxes simultaneously, with a female in each. In two cases it was observed that females which had been left by their males before egg-laying had started, copulated with males which entered the territory whilst the owner was away. Even though in the Pied Flycatcher population there are at least as many one-year-old individuals as older ones, polygamous males are almost exclusively more than a year old. The abandoning of the female by the male may be an appetitive behaviour which allows the male, in the new territory, to perform certain instinctive activities (song, display, etc.), which were extinguished in the old territory. Some males seem to be more inclined to polygamy than others. Since the polygamous ones on the average produce more numerous offspring, the phylogenetic origin of polygyny is understandable. In the Collared Flycatcher, investigated by LÖHRL, polygamy occurs which closely resembles that of the Pied Flycatcher. A comparision with other species is given in the text., This study deals principally with successive polygyny in the Pied Flycatcher. The male Pied Flycatcher may have several territories. He can rarely protect both simultaneously. As a rule he keeps his different territories in his possession successively. When the female has started to lay eggs, and in certain cases even a day before this, the male often leaves her. He moves to another territory and may there acquire a new female. In most cases the new female begins to lay eggs at earliest 5-6 days after the first one. This is due to the fact that the "period of rapid growth" of the oöcytes requires five days in the Pied Flycatcher. The male then leaves the second female also. He may return to the first one, entirely abandoning the second. Or he may, after the first brood has become full-grown, return to the second female, or even feed both females at the same time. Simultaneous polygyny (the time between the egg-layings of the females 0-3 days) occurs in rare instances. In these cases the male had two nest-boxes simultaneously, with a female in each. In two cases it was observed that females which had been left by their males before egg-laying had started, copulated with males which entered the territory whilst the owner was away. Even though in the Pied Flycatcher population there are at least as many one-year-old individuals as older ones, polygamous males are almost exclusively more than a year old. The abandoning of the female by the male may be an appetitive behaviour which allows the male, in the new territory, to perform certain instinctive activities (song, display, etc.), which were extinguished in the old territory. Some males seem to be more inclined to polygamy than others. Since the polygamous ones on the average produce more numerous offspring, the phylogenetic origin of polygyny is understandable. In the Collared Flycatcher, investigated by LÖHRL, polygamy occurs which closely resembles that of the Pied Flycatcher. A comparision with other species is given in the text.]

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/content/journals/10.1163/156853951x00296
1951-01-01
2015-07-04

Affiliations: 1: Zoological Institute, University of Helsingfors

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