Behaviour 2019
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Multi-female displays result in mating opportunities for subordinate male lance-tailed manakins
Emily H. DuVal1, Carla C. Vanderbilt1,2. 1Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, United States; 2University of Pikeville, Pikeville, KY, United States

The social context of mate choice can influence reproductive outcomes, and may do so in different ways for males and females. Multi-female displays in lekking species create potential for transmission of social information among females, but may also increase mating opportunities for nonfavored males. We explored these possibilities using continuous video monitoring of activity at display perches of male lance-tailed manakins. We quantified the occurrence of displays with multiple females present, and tested whether these were related to reproductive opportunities for subordinate “beta” males, which cooperate in two-male displays but generally do not copulate before attaining alpha status.  We found that 13.7% of 574 displays recorded in one year involved more than one female present on the display perch, and that multi-female display were more common early in the breeding season.  Beta-ranked males were more likely to copulate when multiple females were present, identifying a previously unappreciated direct benefit from beta male behavior in this species.  Multi-female displays offer a potentially important route to reproductive success prior to attaining alpha status.