posted on 2021-02-23, 18:05authored byBen J Vernasco
(This version of the dataset has been superseded by the newer version at doi 10.7294/E6C2-7987) As aging is predicted to influence reproductive behaviors, biomarkers of aging (e.g., telomere lengths) should also be related to variation in reproductive behaviors. However, these relationships have not been well established in free-living animals. Wire-tailed manakins (Pipra filicauda) are a lekking songbird in which floater males ascend a social hierarchy and become territory-holders before they can reproduce. Males perform coordinated courtship displays and these displays form the basis of cooperative display coalitions. A floater’s cooperative behavior is predictive of his social ascension and more cooperative territory-holding males attain higher reproductive success. Here, we tested for status-specific patterns of aging by measuring telomere lengths of known-age male wire-tailed manakins. We also examined the relationship between cooperative reproductive behaviors and telomere lengths. Only among territory-holders were telomere lengths negatively correlated with age. Shorter telomeres were also associated with more frequent cooperative interactions and a more exclusive position within an individual’s social network. These results describe how socioecological variables influence patterns of biological aging and also suggest that short telomeres are associated with greater reproductive investments. Given that shorter telomeres are also associated with higher mortality risks, these results support the hypothesis that males with low future reproductive potential invest more in reproduction.