Extra-pair paternity as a strategy to reduce the costs of heterospecific reproduction? Insights from the crow hybrid zone.J Evol Biol. 2020 May; 33(5):727-733.JE
Within hybrid zones of socially monogamous species, the number of mating opportunities with a conspecific can be limited. As a consequence, individuals may mate with a heterospecific (social) partner despite possible fitness costs to their hybrid offspring. Extra-pair copulations with a conspecific may thus arise as a possible post hoc strategy to reduce the costs of hybridization. We here assessed the rate of extra-pair paternity in the hybrid zone between all-black carrion crows (Corvus (corone) corone) and grey hooded crows (C. (c.) cornix) and tested whether extra-pair paternity (EPP) was more likely in broods where parents differed in plumage colour. The proportion of broods with at least one extra-pair offspring and the proportion of extra-pair offspring were low overall (6.98% and 2.90%, respectively) with no evidence of hybrid broods having higher EPP rates than purebred nests.