Extra-Pair Paternity and Sexual Selection

  • Emmi Schlicht
  • Bart Kempenaers
Part of the Primatology Monographs book series (PrimMono)


Parentage analyses can reveal hidden reproductive interactions between individuals that are not social partners. Extra-pair mating is a special case of promiscuity where social pair bonds exist and persist despite copulations with multiple partners by one or both pair members. The relevance of extra-pair interactions in reshaping social mating systems varies among species. In some species or populations, extra-pair matings are no more than exceptional events (e.g., Dearborn et al. 2001; Egger et al.2006), whereas in others extra-pair paternity (EPP) is a phenomenon that cannot be ignored when describing mating patterns because of a substantial discrepancy between the observable apparent mating system and the actually realized mating system (e.g., Double and Cockburn 2003; Sefc et al. 2008). Extra-pair copulations (EPCs) are of special interest in socially monogamous species where promiscuity is otherwise absent. Pair bonding and social monogamy are relatively rare – except in birds (Lack 1968, p. 148) – yet occur in a wide range of animal taxa (e.g., Caldwell 1997; Kvarnemo et al. 2000; Baeza 2008; Steinauer 2009). However, social monogamy frequently goes hand in hand with multiple mating (e.g., Griffith et al. 2002; Chapple 2003; Lodé and Lesbarrères 2004; Cohas and Allainé2009).


Reproductive Success Sexual Selection Mating Success Male Reproductive Success Social Mate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to Robert Schlicht for extensive help with mathematical issues and to James Dale, Kaspar Delhey, and Wolfgang Forstmeier for valuable comments on this chapter.


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© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Behavioural Ecology and Evolutionary GeneticsMax Planck Institute for OrnithologySeewiesenGermany

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