When it comes to female red squirrels, it seems any male will do
Researchers have found that female red squirrels showed high levels of multimale mating and would even mate with males that had similar genetic relatedness, basically mating with their relatives. Researchers from the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and the University of Sheffield in Sheffield, England, United Kingdom studied a population of red squirrels over a period of three years near Kluane National Park in southwest Yukon.
While males mating with multiple females is quite common in the animal kingdom, females that multi-mate is much harder to explain.
Through their observations, it was noted that when female red squirrels chose a mate to copulate with, genetic relatedness did not play a factor.
"In males, the benefits of multi-female mating are well established, but in females the benefits of having many offspring is limited, making the reasoning for multimale mating more puzzling," said Jeffrey Lane, who conducted the study while obtaining his PhD at the University of Alberta.
The researchers also found that the relatedness of parents had no effect on the neonatal mass and growth rate of their offspring. As well, whether or not an offspring survived to one year of age wasn't affected by having related parents either.
"Detailed investigations into the social and genetic context of multimale mating in red squirrels and other mammalian species should help to provide insight into the evolution and maintenance of this behavior," said Lane.
Source: University of Alberta
- Opportunity leads to promiscuity among squirrels, study findsWed, 15 Dec 2010, 10:55:18 EST
- 'Paranoia' about rivals alters insect mating behaviorMon, 8 Aug 2011, 11:33:28 EDT
- Can't compete on dung? Try mating on apple pomaceWed, 24 Jun 2009, 16:38:59 EDT
- Researchers discover female spiders produce mating plugs to prevent unwanted sex from males Wed, 1 Aug 2012, 23:02:41 EDT
- Is chivalry the norm for insects?Thu, 6 Oct 2011, 14:36:29 EDT
Articles on the same topic
- How female chimps call off the competitionTue, 17 Jun 2008, 20:21:32 EDT
- When it comes to female red squirrels, it seems any male will dofrom Science CentricSun, 22 Jun 2008, 8:42:15 EDT
- Female Red Squirrels Are, Basically, Trampsfrom Scientific BloggingFri, 20 Jun 2008, 15:14:04 EDT
- When it comes to female red squirrels, it seems any male will dofrom PhysorgFri, 20 Jun 2008, 13:07:19 EDT
- When It Comes to Female Red Squirrels, It Seems Any Male Will Dofrom Newswise - ScinewsFri, 20 Jun 2008, 12:21:13 EDT
- How female chimps call off the competitionfrom Science CentricThu, 19 Jun 2008, 11:14:23 EDT
- Chimp chicks like quiet sexfrom Science BlogWed, 18 Jun 2008, 15:35:11 EDT
- Female Chimps Use Copulation Calls Strategicallyfrom Science DailyWed, 18 Jun 2008, 10:21:07 EDT
- How female chimps call off the competitionfrom PhysorgWed, 18 Jun 2008, 8:07:19 EDT
- Female Chimps Like To Keep Their Options Open - And Their Mouths Shutfrom Scientific BloggingTue, 17 Jun 2008, 23:07:10 EDT
- Shhhh! Quiet copulation key for female chimpsfrom Reuters:ScienceTue, 17 Jun 2008, 20:42:07 EDT
- Why Female Chimps Shout or Shut Up During Sexfrom Live ScienceTue, 17 Jun 2008, 20:21:07 EDT
- Female chimps keep quiet during sexfrom MSNBC: ScienceTue, 17 Jun 2008, 19:42:07 EDT
- Shhhh! Quiet copulation key for female chimpsfrom Reuters:ScienceTue, 17 Jun 2008, 19:35:05 EDT
- Female chimpanzees play a subtle mating gamefrom The Guardian - ScienceTue, 17 Jun 2008, 19:21:07 EDT
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Learn more about
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- Which qubit my dear? New method to distinguish between neighbouring quantum bits
- Chemical probe confirms that body makes its own rotten egg gas, H2S, to benefit health
- Exposure to high pollution levels during pregnancy may increase risk of having child with autism
- IQ link to baby's weight gain in first month
- Personality test finds some mouse lemurs shy, others bold
- Even with defects, graphene is strongest material in the world
- Detection of the cosmic gamma ray horizon: Measures all the light in the universe since the Big Bang
- Genetic engineering alters mosquitoes' sense of smell
- Allosaurus fed more like a falcon than a crocodile, new study finds
- 'Popcorn' particle pathways promise better lithium-ion batteries