Reproductive senescence and mating tactic interact and conflict to drive reproductive success in a passerine

Thomas V. Riecke, Johann Hegelbach, Michael Schaub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


An understanding of the drivers of individual fitness is a fundamental component of evolutionary ecology and life-history theory. Reproductive senescence, mate and mating tactic choice and latent heterogeneity in individual quality interact to affect individual fitness. We sought to disentangle the effects of these fitness drivers, where longitudinal data are required to understand their respective impacts. We used reproductive allocation and success data from a long-term (1989–2018) study of white-throated dippers Cinclus cinclus in Switzerland to simultaneously examine the effects of female and male age, mating tactic, nest initiation date and individual heterogeneity on reproductive performance. We modelled quadratic and categorical effects of age on reproductive parameters. The probability of polygyny increased with age in both sexes before declining in older age classes. Similarly, hatching probability in monogamous pairs and the number of nestlings hatched in both monogamous and polygynous pairs increased with female age before declining later in life. As predicted, offspring survival in monogamous pairs increased with male age before declining in older age classes, but male age had no effect on offspring survival in polygynous nesting attempts. Our results demonstrate that parental age, mating tactic and individual heterogeneity all affect reproductive success, and that the impacts of senescent decline are expressed across different demographic components as a function of sex-specific senescent decline and mating tactic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)838-849
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Cinclus cinclus
  • individual heterogeneity
  • monogamy
  • polygyny
  • reproductive allocation
  • sex-specific senescence
  • white-throated dipper


Dive into the research topics of 'Reproductive senescence and mating tactic interact and conflict to drive reproductive success in a passerine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this