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Extra-pair paternity in waved albatrosses


Kathryn P. Huyvaert. Fax: (614) 292-2030;


We estimated the rate of extra-pair fertilizations (EPFs) in waved albatrosses (Phoebastria irrorata) on Isla Española, Galápagos, Ecuador, using multilocus minisatellite DNA fingerprinting. Waved albatrosses are socially monogamous, long-lived seabirds whose main population is on Española. Aggressive extra-pair copulation (EPC) attempts have been observed in the breeding colony during the days preceding egg-laying. Our genetic analyses of 16 families (single chicks and their attending parents) revealed evidence of EPFs in four families. In all cases males were the excluded parent. These data suggest that waved albatrosses have an unusually high rate of EPF relative to taxa with similar life histories. Future behavioural observations will determine the extent to which forced vs. unforced EPCs contribute to this high EPF rate.