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University of Toronto Scarborough
Biological Sciences
Maydianne Andrade

BIOC54 March 26, 2011 Lecture 6 Mating Systems Mating systems is who mates with whom, and under what conditions. The different ways in which animal societies are structured with respect to what individuals mate and pair bond with each other. It specifies the number of individuals a male or female will mate with, and under what circumstances that will happen. You can classify mating systems based on what males are doing, what females are doing or on a combination of the two. If we look at the number of individuals someone mates with: 1 = monogamy. > 1 = polygyny ( 1 male, many females), polyandry ( 1 female, many males), promiscuity ( both males and females mate with multiple individuals in the opposite sex). Polygamy: where one sex is mating with multiple partners. You can define mating systems in a couple of different ways, and in the past, mating systems were defined as social mating systems. It was hard for people to figure out what was really going on. It is based on the observed interactions between individuals. Do they pair bond? Engage in parental care together? Do they stay together for a long time? o This is interesting when it comes to looking at sharing and rearing of offspring, but can be inaccurate when looking at life time reproductive success, which is the ultimate currency for evolutionary change. o So we need to know not just who is socially pair bonded, but also what the genetic mating system is. This is based on paternity or maternity. People may be socially bonded, but the maybe the male is helping rear offspring that are not his o DNA fingerprinting helps identify paternity and maternity. o Which of the system is the most common mating system? Polygyny . Because of differences in parental investment. Why do we have systems that are not polygynous? o Male genetic monogamy is a puzzle. o About 3% of mammals and 90% of birds are monogamous. Social monogamny is far more common in birds. www.notesolution.com
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