Male dominance, paternity, and relatedness in the Jamaican fruit-eating bat (Artibeus jamaicensis)

Authors

  • Jorge Ortega,

    Corresponding author
    1. Genetics Program, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, 3001 Connecticut Ave., Washington, DC, 20008, USA;
      Jorge Ortega. Fax: (202) 673–4648; Tel. (202) 673–4781, E-mail: artibeus2@aol.com.
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  • Jesús E. Maldonado,

    1. Genetics Program, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, 3001 Connecticut Ave., Washington, DC, 20008, USA;
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  • Gerald S. Wilkinson,

    1. Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, 20742, USA;
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  • Héctor T. Arita,

    1. Instituto de Ecología, UNAM, Circuito Exterior junto a Jardín Botánico, Apdo. Postal 70–275, México, D.F., 04510, México
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  • Robert C. Fleischer

    1. Genetics Program, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, 3001 Connecticut Ave., Washington, DC, 20008, USA;
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Jorge Ortega. Fax: (202) 673–4648; Tel. (202) 673–4781, E-mail: artibeus2@aol.com.

Abstract

We analysed variation at 14 nuclear microsatellite loci to assess the genetic structure, relatedness, and paternity of polygynous Jamaican fruit-eating bats. A total of 84 adults captured in two caves exhibited little genetic differentiation between caves (FST = 0.008). Average relatedness among adult females in 10 harem groups was very low (R = 0.014 ± 0.011), providing no evidence of harem structure. Dominant and subordinate males shared paternity in large groups, while dominant and satellite males shared paternity in smaller groups. However, our results suggest that male rank influences paternity. Dominant males fathered 69% of 40 offspring, followed by satellite (22%) and subordinate males (9%). Overall adult male bats are not closely related, however, in large harem groups we found that subordinate and dominant males exhibited relatedness values consistent with a father-offspring relationship. Because dominant and subordinate males also sired all the pups in large groups, we propose that their association provides inclusive fitness to them.

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