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Journal Articles Behavioral Ecology Year : 2018

Does multiple paternity explain phenotypic variation among offspring in wild boar?

Abstract

During pregnancy, littermates compete to extract maternal resources from the placenta. Unequal extraction of resources leads to developmental differences among offspring and thus within-litter variation in offspring mass. Because competition among littermates can be stronger among half-sibs, multiple paternity may represent an adaptive strategy allowing females to increase within-litter phenotypic variation among offspring when facing variable environments. Wild boar (Sus scrofa) females produce large litters with diversified offspring in terms of body mass. Additionally, multiple paternities within a litter have been observed in this promiscuous species. One can hypothesize that multiple paternity represents the mechanism by which females increase within-litter phenotypic variation. Combining long-term monitoring data with paternity analyses in a wild boar population, we tested whether the increase in the number of fathers within a litter explained the increase in within-litter variation in offspring mass observed in large litters. We showed that heavy females mated earlier during the rut, produced larger litters with a higher number of fathers and more variable fetus mass than lighter females. Within-litter variation of offspring mass increased with gestation stage and litter size, suggesting differential allocation of maternal resource among offspring “in utero.” However, we found only a weak paternal effect on offspring mass and no direct effect of the number of fathers on the within-litter variation in offspring mass. These results indicate that differential maternal allocation to offspring during pregnancy is unlikely related to paternal identity in this species.
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Dates and versions

hal-03256003 , version 1 (05-12-2023)

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Marlène Gamelon, Thibault Gayet, Eric Baubet, Sébastien Devillard, Ludovic Say, et al.. Does multiple paternity explain phenotypic variation among offspring in wild boar?. Behavioral Ecology, 2018, 29 (4), pp.904-909. ⟨10.1093/beheco/ary056⟩. ⟨hal-03256003⟩
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