The Monogamy Method

Make Him a Monogamy Junkie

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Monogamy polygamy and promiscuity

There are five basic types of animal mating systems (Table 6.1). Monogamy involves a pair-bond between one male and one female, whereas in polygamy, which includes polygyny, polyandry and polygynandry, social bonds involve multiple males and or females. Promiscuity refers to the practice of mating in the absence of any social ties. Note that many species will adopt two or more different mating systems, and the examples used throughout this text are not meant to imply that a particular species engages only in the mating system under discussion. Social monogamy is actually very rare in most taxonomic groups, one notable exception being an estimated 90 per cent of bird species. Because it is generally so uncommon, behavioural ecologists have long been interested in why any species should choose social monogamy. In a number of species, including the California mouse (Peromyscus californicus) (Gubernick and Teferi, 2000), black-winged stilts (Himantopus himantopus) (Cuervo, 2003) and...

Mechanical Stimulation and Imposed Monogamy

Second, the imposed monogamy scenario is predicated on the assumption that multiple copulations within the first reproductive cycle confer benefits on female N. cin-era. In many insects, females profit from multiple matings because they can increase fitness via increased egg production and fertility (Arnqvist and Nilsson, 2000). A male, on the other hand, benefits by rendering females sexually unreceptive after mating, thus increasing the probability that his sperm will fertilize the majority of the female's eggs (Cordero, 1995 Eberhard, 1996 Gillott,

Protandry maximizes encounters with virgin females

Males benefit from mating with virgin females for two reasons. First, they do not have to compete with rival males' sperm, ensuring paternity of all the eggs the female lays before she remates. Secondly, fecundity tends to decrease with female age in many insects, and hence virgin females are also the most fecund. The higher returns associated with mating with virgin females exert strong selection on males to become sexually mature before females, termed protandry (Wiklund and Fagerstrom, 1977). Protandry is also beneficial for females by minimizing the risk of dying unmated, since it reduces the time between emergence and mating (Fagerstrom and Wiklund, 1982). Female butterflies need to eclose at a time when suitable host plants for egg-laying are available, and males are often selected to eclose before females in order to maximize their mating success. This is most likely to occur in species with female monogamy or where there is a first-male mating advantage (e.g.

The emergence of Hivaids

In March of 1983, the CDC shared the results of their epidemiologic investigations into AIDS, observing that among homosexual men those with multiple sexual partners appeared to be at greater risk of contracting the disease, and that the period between exposure and the manifestation of illness could be as long as two years (CDC, 1983). These findings led the CDC to recommend that individuals avoid sexual contact with persons known or suspected to have AIDS. A New York Times article published in February explained that the only protection against AIDS that clinicians could offer their homosexual patients was behavior change. In particular, it was suggested that homosexual men practice monogamy and, ideally, abstain from anal intercourse altogether (Henig, 1983). Many gay men balked at these recommendations, feeling that they undermined a sexual freedom so recently gained (Shilts, 1987).

Contexts of Cannibalism

Then eats its conspecific male mate at some stage during courtship and mating. This phenomenon has been observed in several invertebrate groups, most notably in some insects (e.g., the praying mantid, Mantis religiosa) and many species of spiders and other arachnids. Historically regarded as anomalous behavior, sexual cannibalism is currently of interest in understanding the evolution of reproductive behavior and mating systems. In particular, sexual cannibalism may have evolved as an integral component of monogyny (male monogamy), which includes dramatic examples of male self-sacrifice (e.g., as occurs in the Australian redback spider, Latrodectus hasselti). Such a mating system is predicted to occur when the benefits of paternal investment exceed those of searching for additional mates.

Malemale competition in horned beetles

The fact that males and females set up territories independently results in a wide variety of mating behaviors. In some cases, a single male defends one female territory (producing monogamy) at other times a male defends two adjacent females (producing polygyny). In other cases two males share the defense of one female (polyandry), or several adjacent females (polygynandry). Once a female has built her nest, she solicits copulations from males. Mating begins 3-7 days before the first egg is laid, and lasts up to completion of the clutch of 3-5 eggs. One egg is laid per day during this period. Monogamous males chase off neighboring males who are interested in mating. When two males share a territory, the alpha male follows the female everywhere to prevent her from copulating with the beta male. A female often maneuvers to throw off the alpha male. She then solicits the beta for mating. Females have many tricks, and seem intent on preventing exclusive mating by the alpha. The results of...

Comparative Studies of the Hippocampus

The highly variable mating systems of Microtus voles provide a final comparative example of selection for spatial ability and its effects on the hippocampus. Meadow vole males are highly polygynous, and during breeding they occupy home ranges that encompass the home ranges ofmultiple females (Gaulin and FitzGerald 1986, 1988). These males, in effect, compete spatially for breeding opportunities (Spritzer, Meikle et al. 2005 Spritzer, Solomon et al. 2005). Pine voles, in contrast, are monogamous, and males and females occupy the same home range together. The hippocampus of male meadow voles is larger than that offemales, a sex difference not found in monogamous pine voles (Jacobs et al. 1990).

Sexrelated differences

Males and females often differ in their liability to disperse. Differences are especially strong in some insects, where it is the male that is usually the more active disperser. For example, in the winter moth (Operophtera brumata), the female is wingless whilst the male is free-flying. In a seminal paper, Greenwood (1980) contrasted the sex-biased dispersal of birds and mammals. Amongst birds it is usually the females that are the main dispersers, but amongst mammals it is usually the males. Evolutionary explanations for a sex bias have emphasized on the one hand the advantages of a sex bias in its own right as a means of minimizing inbreeding, but also that details of the mating system may generate asymmetries in the costs and benefits of dispersal and philopatry in the two sexes (Lambin et al., 2001). Thus, in birds, competition for territories is typically most intense amongst males. They, therefore, have most to gain from philopatry in terms of being familiar with their natal...

The differences in defence against parasites across the four groups of social insects

And transmission (Section 2) are normally not compensated by opposite differences in individual or collective defence (this section). The annual social bees and wasps face higher risks of introducing infections in their colonies when returning from foraging trips because they are more likely to ingest contaminated food away from the colony and have less effective filtering devices to prevent per os infections. Their individual antibiotic defences seem less general and elaborate, and their allogrooming, hygienic behaviour and waste management practices are generally less well developed or less frequent. Although task partitioning probably occurs in all major groups of social insects, physical worker castes that would help in defence against disease are restricted to the perennial ants and termites. In fact, the only factor that is not unambiguously pointing towards a significant advantage in disease defence for the long-lived, perennial societies of ants and termites is intracolonial...

One Male Multiple Copulations

Wood-feeding cockroaches in the genus Cryptocercus may be described as socially monogamous males and females establish long-term pair bonds and live in family groups. Genetic monogamy is yet to be determined, but opportunities for extra-pair copulations are probably few. When paired with a female, males fight to exclude other males from tunnels (Ritter, 1964), and adults of both sexes in families defend against intruders (Seelinger and Seelinger, 1983). In the two copulations observed in C. punctulatus, one lasted for 34 min and the other for 42 min (Nalepa, 1988a) sneaky extra-pair copulations therefore seem unlikely. The best opportunity for cheating, if it occurs, would be after adult emergence but prior to establishment of a pair bond. Adult males and adult females each can be found alone in galleries, particularly during spring and early summer field collections (Nalepa, 1984). male fertility. It would be of interest to determine if this pattern of repeated mating behavior occurs...

Reduction and Loss of Genitalic Structures

Additional correlates of reduced male genitalia in cockroaches also must be considered. Among the Panes-thiinae species studied, the absence of an oothecal covering around the eggs is correlated with the absence or reduction of male genital structures (Walker and Rose, 1998). All of the species for which we have information also exhibit a burrowing lifestyle, tunneling in soil, rotted wood, or rotted palms. How all these threads connect (burrowing lifestyle, mating system, copulatory behavior, male genital morphology, and absence of egg case) awaits further study. It is of interest (Chapter 9), however, that termites are monogamous (Nalepa and Jones, 1991) and that isopteran males are largely unencumbered by genitalia (Roonwal, 1970). Termites also live in burrows, mate by backing into each other, and except for Mastotermes, have lost the casing around their eggs. Species in the Cryptocercidae, the sister group of termites, live in burrows and are apparently monandrous, but male...

Epidemiologic settings

The contrast between networks describing sexual partnerships and more general social contact networks is particularly pronounced. It is instructive to look at some of these differences as they highlight many important aspects of network structure. The number of sexual partnerships is dwarfed by the number of social contacts in a population. An STI has far fewer chances to spread than an infection such as the common cold. Furthermore, since most individuals are monogamous (i.e. have only one sexual partner over a given time period), a large part of a sexual network consists of isolated pairs of individuals. Sexual networks often exhibit a high Transmission networks are dynamic structures individuals' groups of contacts change over time. This is perhaps most pronounced in the case of sexual partnership networks. Partnership dynamics (the break up of existing partnerships and the formation of new partnerships) plays a major role in the spread of infection through the large part of the...

Maximizing genetic diversity

Population be established before the number of wild individuals drops below 1000, so that an adequate number (20--30) of unrelated individuals can be used as founders. Unfortunately, such forward planning is not always possible and captive populations are founded all too often by only a handful of individuals (recall the earlier example of Pere David's deer). Variation in reproductive success (VRS) will also influence the Ne of a captive population. Some species, including those with a socially monogamous mating system (e.g. many birds), can often be managed so as to increase the proportion of breeding adults. In other species (e.g. many mammals) breeding is most successful under a polygamous mating system, in which case the VRS of males may be high (Chapter 6).

Summary and synthesis

The shortage of detailed studies of primate-parasites dynamics calls for better integration of quantitative theoretical approaches and records of parasitism in natural populations. For example, it is difficult to relate categorically defined mating systems (e.g. polygyny, serial monogamy) and social organization (e.g. solitary, fission-fusion communities) to the spread of parasites in wild populations. More precise measures of parameters suggested by theoretical models are needed from wild mammal populations, including inter- and intra-group contact rates, dispersal rates and distances, contact durations for different types of social interactions, and better measures of variance in male and female mating success. Moreover, model parameters that define contacts leading to parasite transmission must reflect biologically realistic and estimable processes, which can be achieved by increasing interactions between primatologists and epidemiologists. Indeed, perhaps the greatest challenge in...

Population Level Variation in Dispersion Patterns

An example is provided by the tawny owl (Strix aluco) which is a long-lived, monogamous, territorial bird (Figure 5). Juveniles only get access to optimal resources when adults die and thereby leave vacant territories. Adults defend their territories fiercely against intruders, though they are more willing to accept juveniles within the territory boundaries during July and August, when the juveniles disperse from their natal territories.

Single Gene Effects on Behavior

That, among others, controls the development of a pair bond, was targeted. This receptor is characteristic for some monogamous species of voles, and it is lacking in other, polygynous species. If the gene for Via is transferred to house mice, they suddenly become more attentive to their female partner


Gibbons have monogamous social groups in which both males and females leave their natal groups and form new ones without joining other groups. However, a young adult male and a young adult female joined non-natal monogamous groups and settled there after their forested habitat was fragmented by forest fire (Oka & Takenaka 2001).

Tryonicus Mcker

All Cryptocercidae and wood-feeding Panesthiinae studied to date are slow-growing, long-lived cockroaches. Development takes about 4 yr in Cryptocercus kyebangen-sis (Park et al., 2002), C. clevelandi takes 5-7 yr, and C. punctulatus requires 4-5 yr. In the latter two species, adults pair up during the year they mature, but do not reproduce until the following summer. Thus the time from hatch to hatch in C. clevelandi is 6-8 yr, and in C. punctulatus 5-6 yr. Post reproduction, adults of these two species live for 3 or so yr in the field, females longer than males (Nalepa et al., 1997). Rugg and Rose (1990) calculated that the nymphal period of Pane. cribrata was at least 4-6 yr, and that the field longevity of adults exceeds 4 yr. Panesthia cribrata, as well as Pane. australis, Pane. matthewsi, Pane. sloanei, and Pane. angustipennis spadica live in aggregations, most often comprised of a number of adult females, an adult male, and nymphs of various sizes. Nymphs are also commonly...

Undiminished passion

The guillemotwasa fortuitous choice.Although Iwas interested in sperm competition I had no idea when I started my DPhil. that the guillemot, despite being socially monogamous, was sexually rather promiscuous. The observations I made were promising, but I soon realised that without a large number of individually marked birds in close proximity, guillemots would take me only so far in sperm competition. On moving to Sheffield in 1976 I started what would become a 10-year study of magpies to look at mate-guarding and extra-pair behaviour. But I was still in love with sea-birds, and I spent the next seven summers in various parts of the Canadian Arctic. Labrador, however, was the tipping point. The colonies there provided exactly the opportunity I needed to follow the behaviour of individually recognisable guillemots. As all the pieces started to fit together, I made the decision in the spring of 1983 that from then on sperm competition would be the main focus of my research.

Parentage analysis

We can gain some idea of how pervasive this phenomenon is from the fact that fewer than 25 per cent of the socially monogamous bird species that had been studied up to 2002 were found to be genetically monogamous (Griffith, Owens and Thuman, 2002 see also Figure 6.3). Table 6.2 Some of the frequencies of extra-pair fertilizations (EPFs) that have been found in monogamous and polygamous species following molecular genetic parentage analyses. There are also species that very rarely engage in EPFs, and therefore the proportion of extra-pair young in all mating systems that involve pair-bonds ranges from essentially zero to more than half Table 6.2 Some of the frequencies of extra-pair fertilizations (EPFs) that have been found in monogamous and polygamous species following molecular genetic parentage analyses. There are also species that very rarely engage in EPFs, and therefore the proportion of extra-pair young in all mating systems that involve pair-bonds ranges from essentially zero...

Mate choice

Many studies have now used molecular data to conduct parentage analyses, and perhaps the most general conclusion that we can reach is that even in socially monogamous species both males and females will often mate with multiple partners. However, not all individuals are equally successful at attracting mates, and this leads us to the question of what makes a mate particularly attractive to a member of the opposite sex. Mate choice may be exercised by both males and females. Female blue-footed boobies (Sula nebouxii Figure 6.6), for example, experienced a greater degree of intra- and extra-pair courtship if their feet were particularly colourful, suggesting that this is a trait that promotes male mate choice (Torres and Velando, 2005). Generally speaking, however, females are choosier than males because usually they invest more in eggs than males do in sperm. Understanding why individuals choose particular mates -- both social and extra-pair -- and not others is necessary before we can...


A second way to infer different levels of dispersal between the sexes is to compare male--male and female--female relatedness within populations, because the sex that does not disperse should show higher levels of relatedness than the sex that does disperse. The simplest way to test for this is to compare the relatedness between all male--male pairs and all female--female pairs within each population to see if overall values are higher in one sex than the other. Estimates of relatedness were used to compare female and male dispersal in the Australian lizard Egernia stokesii. The breeding partners of this genetically monogamous species live within aggregates that include offspring and other relatives. Although both sexes show some degree of philopatry, females within groups had higher overall levels of relatedness to one another (r 0.1380) compared with the relatedness between males (r 0.0433), and this was taken as evidence for male-biased dispersal (Gardner et al., 2001).

Mating rate

Suggested to impact on host behaviour is in the evolution of mating rate. In systems with an STI, it is suggested, selection should favour modifiers that reduce mating rate. However, it is very unlikely to select for monogamy. As for the case of mate choice, the advantage gained by less promiscuous individuals is intrinsically frequency-dependent (Thrall et al., 1997, 2000 Boots and Knell, 2002). If there are benefits to promiscuity to either sex, then we would expect either intermediate levels of promiscuity across the population, or a polymorphism with some individuals remaining promiscuous, and others less so.

Research History

Research involving wild Gouldian finches over the past 15 years has largely focused on their rapid decline. At first the presence absence of Gouldian finches in northern Australia was noted (Tidemann, 1987) followed by research that addressed the role of pastoral practices and land management (Tidemann, 1986, 1990 Franklin, 1999). Banding data described moult patterns and seasonal abundance of birds at waterholes (Woinarski and Tidemann, 1992 Tidemann and Woinarski, 1994). The role of the parasite Sternostoma tracheacolum was investigated (Tidemann and McOrist, 1992) and diet analysis showed that Gouldian finches are specialist seasonal foragers of native grass seeds (Dostine et al., 2001 Dostine and Franklin, 2002). Tidemann and Lawson (1999) reported that the Gouldian finch was monogamous but this conclusion was reached without DNA verification. Fox et al. (2002) noted strong mate selection for head color and the possibility of mate infidelity. Importantly, the Gouldian finch shows...

The Ground Plan

Nature has set a very high bar for the attainment of euso-ciality, and only extraordinary environmental challenges and extraordinary circumstances in prior history can allow an organism to scale it (Holldobbler and Wilson, 2005). In the termite ancestor, a nitrogen-deficient, physically difficult food source was undoubtedly the relevant environmental challenge, and costly brood care was an essential precedent. Nonetheless, the evolution of termite eusociality cannot be divorced from an entire suite of interrelated and influential morphological, behavioral, developmental, and life history characteristics. These include monogamy, altricial offspring, adult longevity, extended developmental periods, multiple relationships

Sexbiased parasitism

Male and female life histories are usually very different, especially in species with highly polygynous mating systems, in which females maximize fitness by living for a long time and producing many young, and males maximize fitness by mating with many reproductively active females (Bateman, 1948 Trivers, 1972). These disparate selection pressures often lead to the production of weapons and ornaments in males, as well as large body size, especially in mammals (Andersson, 1994). These traits are envisaged to be costly to produce and maintain and, in mammals, it has been shown that in species in which there is strong sexual selection (as measured by mating system and sexual size dimorphism), males appear to suffer viability costs (i.e. there is male-biased mortality). Recently, it has been suggested that one mechanism by which this viability cost might be exerted is via increased susceptibility or exposure to parasites (Moore and Wilson, 2002). Indeed, across a range of mammal species,...

Extinction when rare

Owls occupy as monogamous pairs in old growth conifer forest in the Pacific North-west. Plans for the conservation of the owl had originally envisaged conserving 500 pairs to maintain sufficient genetic variation (see below). A model based on habitat occupancy, however, showed that 500 pairs were insufficient to halt extinction from demographic causes because colonization of new territories would not balance loss of occupied territories. A similar and more recent study on separate metapopulations of Glanville Fritillary butterflies (Figure 13.5) in Finland showed that metapopulations of a few small well separated habitat patches had gone extinct during recent years while larger metapopulations with greater numbers of large proximate habitat patches persisted (Hanski and Ovaskainen 2000) as predicted by a simple model.


Pinnipeds exhibit a range of social behavior. At one end is the Ross seal (Ommatophoca rossi), which lives alone during the winter at the other is the gregarious walrus, which forms breeding colonies of several thousand individuals. Seals, fur seals, sea lions, and walruses (Otariidae and Odobenidae) are polygamous earless seals (Phocidae) are monogamous. All species mate once each year gestation ranges from eight to fifteen months, and one (or rarely, two) young are born on land or ice. Delayed implantation of the fertilized egg occurs in several species, possibly an adaptation allowing synchronized births in colonial species. Newborn pups can swim but do not develop sufficient blubber for insulation and buoyancy for several months. Some pinnipeds migrate to foraging and breeding areas. Northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) may migrate up to 21,000 km in a year, the greatest distance documented for any mammal.

Sperm number

In general, we expect that in polyandrous species males should ensure that they are able to mate whenever they encounter a receptive female. In the polyandrous Australian Hypolimnas bolina butterfly, females show a facultative adult diapause, possibly due to the unpredictable timing of the tropical season. In contrast, males do not appear to be reproductively dormant, as sperm is present throughout the year. This may be a strategy to cope with the unpredictability of female activity and enable them to mate whenever they encounter receptive females (Pieloor and Seymour, 2001). In highly polyandrous species we also expect males to be able to produce more ejaculates than males of monandrous species, since they, on average, will mate more frequently. This is indeed the case in butterflies, not only do males of polyandrous species produce bigger spermatophores than males of monandrous species (Svard and Wiklund, 1989 Bissoondath and Wiklund, 1995), they also have greater spermatophore...

Calculate the pvalue

Critics of null hypothesis testing ask 'Why should data that have never been observed (e.g. the occurrence of an exponent greater than 0.77) influence our inference about the validity of the null hypothesis ' This seems to be a reasonable concern. It is easy to construct examples in which the observed data are impossible if the null hypothesis is true, but where the p-value is not zero because more extreme data are possible (e.g. a null hypothesis of an odd number of breeding birds in a monogamous species).

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