The role of static features of males in the mate choice behavior of female Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica).
ABSTRACT In two experiments, we investigated the mate choice behavior of female Japanese quail toward taxidermically-prepared male models. Both experiments consisted of four phases: (1) habituation; (2) a pre-test in which two taxidermically-prepared models of male birds were presented; (3) observation in which the respective non-preferred male model was presented either alone or with another stimulus, and (4) a post-test in which male models were again presented alone. Results showed that focal females increased their preference for a non-preferred male model that they had previously observed with a live female (Experiment 1) or with a taxidermically-prepared female model (Experiment 2). Two control groups ruled out the possibility that focal females were choosing male models either because: (1) males were presented with an additional stimulus, or (2) females were choosing an area where they observed male models with other females. The findings suggest that female quail may utilize static, species-specific features of male conspecifics in mate choice.