University Of Tasmania

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Low frequency of extra-pair paternity in two colonies of the socially monogamous short-tailed shearwater Puffinus tenuirostris

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 11:00 authored by Austin, JJ, Parkin, DT
The short-tailed shearwater is a colonially nesting, socially monogamous seabird. Little is known about mate fidelity and breeding behaviour in this species because breeding birds are nocturnal on land and spend much of their time within subterranean nesting burrows. Colonial breeding and extended sperm storage create opportunities for extra-pair copulations which may form a significant component of the mating strategy in this species. Multilocus DNA fingerprinting was used to examine the genetic relationship between nestlings and the male and female nest attendants in 83 burrows from two distinct breeding colonies. Genetic analyses identified nine nestlings, approximately equally distributed between the two colonies, that were not related to the attendant pair male in those burrows, implying extra-pair paternity through extra-pair copulations. These results are used retrospectively to discuss the characteristics of extra-pair copulations and extra-pair fertilizations and the implications for estimates of life-time reproductive success in the short-tailed shearwater.


Publication title

Molecular Ecology








School of Natural Sciences


Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Place of publication

9600 Garsington Rd, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox4 2Dg

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences

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