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.
"Females with good or poor reproductive success faced two potential mates in a choice chamber: their previous mate and a male neighbor. Such a protocol was widely used to study mate preferences in previous studies (Collins 1994; Houtman and Falls 1994; Palokangas et al. 1994; Swaddle and Cuthill 1994; Buchholz 1995; Mateos and Carranza 1995; White and Galef 1999; Jones et al. 2001; Akins et al. 2002). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Divorce and remating in birds can be described as strategies used to enhance reproductive success. Mate switching often occurs because pairs failed to brood at least one chick during the previous breeding season. In the present study, we evaluated the influence of reproductive success on female preferences in domesticated canaries (Serinus canaria). For that purpose, females previously paired and having reared young were placed in a choice test situation: They were allowed to choose between their previous mate and a familiar male (a male neighbor during the breeding period). During these choice tests, females tended to stay near their previous mate longer than near a male neighbor when their reproductive success was “good” (at least two chicks). On the other hand, females with “poor” reproductive success (one chick) did not show a preference for their previous mate. Furthermore, in the present study, we observed that during choice tests males reacted to the presence of their previous mate in a particular way, by gathering nest material. This behavior was more scarcely observed in neighbor males which, on the contrary, sang significantly more than previous mates did.
"model females mating with their nonpreferred males (Ophir & Galef, 2003a), or when presented with static, taxidermically prepared model females positioned near nonpreferred males (Akins et al., 2002). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Evidence from both field and laboratory is consistent with the hypothesis that animals can acquire mate preferences by observing the mating behavior of others. It is difficult, however, to distinguish social learning about mates from a host of other social effects on mating that do not produce changes in preferences. Examples are drawn from laboratory studies on mate choice in female and male Japanese quail that illustrate ways in which social cues influence mating decisions. Quail of both sexes use social cues to modify their mate choices, but the sexes use the information to serve different purposes. Female quail gain preferences for males seen mating with other females, whereas males avoid females that they had observed mating with other males. This sex difference in social learning provides an example of how costs and benefits of sexual behavior can shape decision-making processes. Implications of the influence of social learning on sexual selection are briefly discussed.
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