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Conservation threats in native populations of common quail

Postcopulatory sexual selection plays an important role in the reproductive success of males in many species. Differences in fertilization success could affect rates of admixture and genetic introgression between divergent lineages. Sperm precedence in matings in captivity involving Common quails (Coturnix coturnix) and farm quails of hybrid origin (C. coturnix × domestic Japanese quail, C. japonica), the last used in restocking practices to increase hunting bags, has been investigated. These inter-specific matings in natural conditions are claimed to represent an important threat to the conservation of native Common quail populations. Results showed that fertilization success of each male depended on (1) the time it spent with the female, (2) the presence of sperm from a previous male in the female oviduct, (3) the time that the previous partner had been copulating with the female, and, most importantly, (4) the genetic origin of the male (wild or farm). Farm hybrid males showed higher fertilization success than wild Common males, and they required less time with the female to fertilize the same proportion of eggs. The presence of sperm from another male in the female oviduct reduced the percentage of fertilized eggs by a male. However, this reduction was higher for wild males when the precedent mate was a farm male. In summary, the sperm of farm hybrid males may outcompete the sperm of native males and this could be favoring the introgression of domestic Japanese alleles into the Common quail population, thus constituting a severe conservation threat to wild Common quail populations. informacion[at] Sanchez-Donoso et al (2015) Postcopulatory sexual selection favors fertilization success of restocking hybrid quails over native Common quails (Coturnix coturnix) J Ornithol doi: 10.1007/s10336-015-1242-1
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