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The mating of a female with more than one male at one time (usually taken to be during the course of a single breeding season). Simultaneous polyandry occurs where the female mates with more than one male to produce a clutch of eggs or brood of young bearing genes from each male. Successive polyandry occurs where the female mates with one male, lays eggs or gives birth to the young, but plays little part in their parental care (they are usually cared for by this first male), instead moving away and mating with another male. The existence of simultaneous polyandry is usually difficult to prove, and polyandry appears to be mainly of the successive type. Polyandry is generally much rarer than polygyny, presumably because the mother is usually not sexually receptive following successful mating and since she bears the young she is more involved with their care and less able to seek another mate. See also promiscuity.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences — Ecology and Conservation.

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