Lifetime reproductive success in relation to morphology in the house sparrow Passer domesticus

Henrik Jensen*, Bernt Erik Sæether, Thor Harald Ringsby, Jarle Tufto, Simon C. Griffith, Hans Ellegren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

76 Citations (Scopus)


1. In this study we relate variation in lifetime reproductive success (LRS) of male and female house sparrows Passer domesticus to morphological characteristics. 2. Our analyses demonstrated no sex-specific difference in the distribution of LRS. The variance in LRS was influenced mainly by variation in individual annual reproductive success, and to a lesser extent by variation in individual lifespan. 3. Phenotypic traits explained a significant proportion of the variation in LRS in males, but not in females. The effect of male morphology on LRS operated mainly through an effect on the number of recruiting daughters. 4. The size of the patch of black feathers on the chest of males (badge size) and male bill length were both positively associated with LRS. Lifespan and bill length were positively related and reproductive success increased with badge size. In females, number of recruiting daughters was positively related to bill length, body mass and body condition index due to the positive effect of these traits on annual production of daughters. 5. These results indicate that identifying factors causing the large individual variation in LRS, which is likely to be closely related to fitness, will be important to understand microevolutionary processes in this metapopulation, and hence their demographic feedbacks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-611
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Fitness
  • Lifespan
  • Morphology
  • Passer domesticus
  • Reproductive success

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