SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

Maternal effects play an important role in mediating reproductive success; the different allocation of resources in eggs is considered a primary maternal effect. In oviparous vertebrates, there are several substances (hormones, immunoglobulins, antioxidants, antibacterial molecules) that females may allocate differentially. Mate choice is a key factor influencing female reproductive decisions and investment in eggs, but it is not clear to what extent the dominance status of the partner can influence the decision to invest differentially in the quality of eggs. In the grey partridge Perdix perdix, we ranked males for their social status after pairwise dominance tests. Then, females were paired experimentally with dominant or subordinate individuals. We measured testosterone, lysozyme and ovotransferrin concentrations in their eggs. Females paired with dominant males laid eggs with higher testosterone concentration, while egg mass, lysozyme and ovotransferrin concentrations did not differ. With regard to testosterone, because this hormone has been shown to elicit beneficial effects in offspring hatching from grey partridge eggs, our results are in line with the differential allocation hypothesis that females paired with high-quality males should invest more in the current reproductive event.