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The Role of Bioacoustic Signals in Koala Sexual Selection: Insights from Seasonal Patterns of Associations Revealed with GPS-Proximity Units.

Ellis W, FitzGibbon S, Pye G, Whipple B, Barth B, Johnston S, Seddon J, Melzer A, Higgins D, Bercovitch F - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: We hypothesise that vocal advertising reduces the likelihood of male-male encounters in the breeding season while increasing the rate of male-female encounters.We suggest that male mating-season bellows function to reduce physical confrontations with other males allowing them to space themselves apart, while, at the same time, attracting females.We conclude that indirect male-male competition, female mate choice, and possibly female competition, mediate sexual selection in koalas.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Agriculture and Food Science, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, 4072, Australia.

ABSTRACT
Despite being a charismatic and well-known species, the social system of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus--the only extant member of the family Phascolarctidae) is poorly known and much of the koala's sociality and mating behaviors remain un-quantified. We evaluated these using proximity logging-GPS enabled tracking collars on wild koalas and discuss their implications for the mating system of this species. The frequency and duration of male-female encounters increased during the breeding season, with male-male encounters quite uncommon, suggesting little direct mating competition. By comparison, female-female interactions were very common across both seasons. Body mass of males was not correlated with their interactions with females during the breeding season, although male size is associated with a variety of acoustic parameters indicating individuality. We hypothesise that vocal advertising reduces the likelihood of male-male encounters in the breeding season while increasing the rate of male-female encounters. We suggest that male mating-season bellows function to reduce physical confrontations with other males allowing them to space themselves apart, while, at the same time, attracting females. We conclude that indirect male-male competition, female mate choice, and possibly female competition, mediate sexual selection in koalas.

No MeSH data available.


Average contact frequency (mean number of contacts per individual ± SD) for koalas at St Bees Island, Queensland, Australia during breeding and non-breeding seasons.*P = 0.004
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pone.0130657.g002: Average contact frequency (mean number of contacts per individual ± SD) for koalas at St Bees Island, Queensland, Australia during breeding and non-breeding seasons.*P = 0.004

Mentions: We recorded a total of 611 contacts among 224.5 h of reported encounters between 17 koalas (7 male, 10 female) in 90 days of data collection between September and December (the breeding season), compared with 266 contacts among 23.3 h of encounters for the 14 koalas during the same measurement interval starting in May (non- breeding season, Figs 1 and 2).


The Role of Bioacoustic Signals in Koala Sexual Selection: Insights from Seasonal Patterns of Associations Revealed with GPS-Proximity Units.

Ellis W, FitzGibbon S, Pye G, Whipple B, Barth B, Johnston S, Seddon J, Melzer A, Higgins D, Bercovitch F - PLoS ONE (2015)

Average contact frequency (mean number of contacts per individual ± SD) for koalas at St Bees Island, Queensland, Australia during breeding and non-breeding seasons.*P = 0.004
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4496073&req=5

pone.0130657.g002: Average contact frequency (mean number of contacts per individual ± SD) for koalas at St Bees Island, Queensland, Australia during breeding and non-breeding seasons.*P = 0.004
Mentions: We recorded a total of 611 contacts among 224.5 h of reported encounters between 17 koalas (7 male, 10 female) in 90 days of data collection between September and December (the breeding season), compared with 266 contacts among 23.3 h of encounters for the 14 koalas during the same measurement interval starting in May (non- breeding season, Figs 1 and 2).

Bottom Line: We hypothesise that vocal advertising reduces the likelihood of male-male encounters in the breeding season while increasing the rate of male-female encounters.We suggest that male mating-season bellows function to reduce physical confrontations with other males allowing them to space themselves apart, while, at the same time, attracting females.We conclude that indirect male-male competition, female mate choice, and possibly female competition, mediate sexual selection in koalas.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Agriculture and Food Science, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, 4072, Australia.

ABSTRACT
Despite being a charismatic and well-known species, the social system of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus--the only extant member of the family Phascolarctidae) is poorly known and much of the koala's sociality and mating behaviors remain un-quantified. We evaluated these using proximity logging-GPS enabled tracking collars on wild koalas and discuss their implications for the mating system of this species. The frequency and duration of male-female encounters increased during the breeding season, with male-male encounters quite uncommon, suggesting little direct mating competition. By comparison, female-female interactions were very common across both seasons. Body mass of males was not correlated with their interactions with females during the breeding season, although male size is associated with a variety of acoustic parameters indicating individuality. We hypothesise that vocal advertising reduces the likelihood of male-male encounters in the breeding season while increasing the rate of male-female encounters. We suggest that male mating-season bellows function to reduce physical confrontations with other males allowing them to space themselves apart, while, at the same time, attracting females. We conclude that indirect male-male competition, female mate choice, and possibly female competition, mediate sexual selection in koalas.

No MeSH data available.