Mate Guarding Behaviors In Swallows Essay

1314 words - 6 pages

Mate guarding, which is defined as " individual males following mates around during critical periods," is something that is very commonly seen in male swallows during the critical pre-egg laying, and egg lying periods. During the 1986 breeding season, Anders Pape Moller wanted to know the importance of mate guarding in these swallows. Two major questions seemed to have been posed at the beginning of the reading. First, what are the costs/benefits to the males and females when the behavior of guarding is given up. In other words, do the males and females benefit from this behavior? Or does this behavior lead to negative outcomes in either the male/female swallows. Another important question ...view middle of the document...

And secondly the laying periods in which the same kind of energy and food is needed in order to have success in reproduction. Lastly, one should understand what chaser male swallows are and what they do. Simply put, chaser male swallows are other males in the colonies, which attempt to mate with other females besides their own mates. Many factors could lead to chasing, which will be discussed later on in the paper.Moller decided that in order to find out whether or not mate-guarding intensity was increased or decreased by certain factors he first detained a controlled number of males for four hours and then let them go while at the same time captured another set of males and let them go immediately. Doing so in order figure out the mate guarding and chase intensity throughout the colony while some females were "widowed" for the time being while their respective mate had been detained. Another step in the methods process in which Moller took was the addition and subtraction of eggs immediately following their egg lying periods in order to find out the intensity of mate guarding, number of mating attempts and number of chases that occurred with the addition and subtraction of eggs.With the detention of males, Moller was able to discover that the so called "widowed" females (that is females whose mates were being detained) had been participating in much more mating with other males in the neighborhood as opposed to the female swallows who still had their male mates with them. It was also discovered that the intensity of chases occurred much higher to "widowed" females than to the ones who still had their mates. Moller found another discovery in the detention of males. He discovered that if male swallows did not have a female who was able to lay fertile eggs, that male participated much more in chases in other neighboring females. Respectively, if the males had females who are lying fertile eggs, that male mates intensity of conducting chases were found to be significantly less. Thus leading Moller to believe that if females are not guarded by their respective mates, they become distressed and chased much more often then females who are guarded by their mates.With the addition of eggs to the swallows nests during their egg lying periods of the second mating attempt of the season, it was discovered that after the addition of eggs, the group of Males which were detained for four hours guarded the mate much more intensely than the males who had been captured and released immediately. It was also discovered that when more eggs had been added to the nest, the experimental groups mating activity increased, while the control groups (those who had been detained and...

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