Female finches prefer courtship signals indicating male vigor and neuromuscular ability

Autoři: Jeffery L. Dunning aff001;  Santosh Pant aff002;  Karagh Murphy aff002;  Jonathan F. Prather aff002
Působiště autorů: Department of Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America aff001;  Department of Zoology & Physiology, Neuroscience Program, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, United States of America aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 15(1)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0226580


Female songbirds use male song to discriminate among individuals and evaluate their quality as potential mates. Previous behavioral experiments in many species, including the species studied here, have shown that females will solicit copulation in response to song even if no male is present. Those data demonstrate that female mate choice is closely tied to song features, but they leave open the question of which song parameters are most influential in female mate selection. We sought to identify features of male song that are salient for mate choice in female Bengalese finches. Using a novel experimental approach, we simultaneously tested the possible influence of specific notes or note transitions, the number of different note types in the male’s repertoire, the complexity of note content and note sequence, and the stereotypy of note content and note sequence. In additional experiments, we also tested the influence of the pitch and tempo of note production. Our results demonstrate that females generally preferred songs containing increased tempo in the context of species-typical frequency bandwidth, consistent with the idea that females prefer songs that are especially challenging to produce. Female preference for song features that pose a neuromuscular challenge has also been reported in other species. Our data extend those observations into a species that thrives in a laboratory setting and is commonly used in studies of the neural basis of behavior. These results provide an excellent new model system in which to study female preference and the neural mechanisms that underlie signal evaluation and mate choice.

Klíčová slova:

Animal behavior – Bird song – Birds – Decision making – Signal bandwidth – Swamps – Syllables – Canaries


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