An Experimental Test of Condition-Dependent Male and Female Mate Choice in Zebra FinchesReport as inadecuate




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In mating systems with social monogamy and obligatory bi-parental care, such as found in many songbird species, male and female fitness depends on the combined parental investment. Hence, both sexes should gain from choosing mates in high rather than low condition. However, theory also predicts that an individual-s phenotypic quality can constrain choice, if low condition individuals cannot afford prolonged search efforts and-or face higher risk of rejection. In systems with mutual mate choice, the interaction between male and female condition should thus be a better predictor of choice than either factor in isolation. To address this prediction experimentally, we manipulated male and female condition and subsequently tested male and female mating preferences in zebra finches Taeniopygia guttata, a songbird species with mutual mate choice and obligatory bi-parental care. We experimentally altered phenotypic quality by manipulating the brood size in which the birds were reared. Patterns of association for high- or low-condition individuals of the opposite sex differed for male and female focal birds when tested in an 8-way choice arena. Females showed repeatable condition-assortative preferences for males matching their own rearing background. Male preferences were also repeatable, but not predicted by their own or females- rearing background. In combination with a brief review of the literature on condition-dependent mate choice in the zebra finch we discuss whether the observed sex differences and between-studies differences arise because males and females differ in context sensitivity e.g. male-male competition suppressing male mating preferences, sampling strategies or susceptibility to rearing conditions e.g. sex-specific effect on physiology. While a picture emerges that juvenile and current state indeed affect preferences, the development and context-dependency of mutual state-dependent mate choice warrants further study.



Author: Marie-Jeanne Holveck , Nicole Geberzahn, Katharina Riebel

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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