Multiple paternity and precocial breeding in wild Tasmanian devils, Sarcophilus harrisii (Marsupialia: Dasyuridae)

Russell, Tracey, Lane, Amanda, Clarke, Judy, Hogg, Carolyn, Morris, Katrina, Keeley, Tamara, Madsen, Thomas and Ujvari, Beata 2019, Multiple paternity and precocial breeding in wild Tasmanian devils, Sarcophilus harrisii (Marsupialia: Dasyuridae), Biological journal of the Linnean Society, vol. 128, no. 1, pp. 201-210, doi: 10.1093/biolinnean/blz072.

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Title Multiple paternity and precocial breeding in wild Tasmanian devils, Sarcophilus harrisii (Marsupialia: Dasyuridae)
Formatted title  Multiple paternity and precocial breeding in wild Tasmanian devils, Sarcophilus harrisii (Marsupialia: Dasyuridae)
Author(s) Russell, Tracey
Lane, Amanda
Clarke, Judy
Hogg, Carolyn
Morris, Katrina
Keeley, Tamara
Madsen, Thomas
Ujvari, BeataORCID iD for Ujvari, Beata orcid.org/0000-0003-2391-2988
Journal name Biological journal of the Linnean Society
Volume number 128
Issue number 1
Start page 201
End page 210
Total pages 10
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication Oxford, Eng.
Publication date 2019-09
ISSN 0024-4066
1095-8312
Keyword(s) marsupials
multiple paternity
polyandry
precocial breeding
Sarcophilus harrisii
Tasmanian devil
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Evolutionary Biology
Summary Polyandry, a common reproductive strategy in various animal species, has potential female benefits, which include enhanced offspring fitness. Benefits can be direct, such as reduced risk of male infanticide of offspring, or indirect, such as increased genetic diversity of offspring and the acquisition of 'good genes'. Multiple paternity of litters has been recorded in numerous marsupial species but has not been reported in Tasmanian devils, Sarcophilus harrisii (Boitard). We investigated whether multiple paternity occurred in litters within a wild population of Tasmanian devils. Using major histocompatibility complex-linked and neutral microsatellite markers, the paternity of nine litters was analysed. We found multiple paternity in four out of nine litters and that yearling (> 1, < 2 years old) male devils were siring offspring. This is the first record of multiple paternity and of male precocial breeding in wild Tasmanian devils. To date, there are no data relating to the subsequent survival of devils from single- vs. multiple-sired litters; therefore, we do not know whether multiple paternity increases offspring survival in the wild. These results have implications for the Tasmanian devil captive insurance programme, because group housing can lead to multiple-sired litters, making the maintenance of genetic diversity over time difficult to manage.
Language eng
DOI 10.1093/biolinnean/blz072
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 06 Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2019, The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30129488

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