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Mares prefer the voices of highly fertile stallions.

Lemasson A, Remeuf K, Trabalon M, Cuir F, Hausberger M - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Females from three study groups preferred playbacks of low-pitched voices.More work is needed to explore the relative importance of morpho-physiological features.Assortative mating may be involved as large females preferred voices of larger stallions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Université de Rennes 1, Laboratoire d'éthologie animale et humaine, UMR 6552- C.N.R.S., Paimpont, France; Institut Universitaire de France, Paris, France.

ABSTRACT
We investigated the possibility that stallion whinnies, known to encode caller size, also encoded information about caller arousal and fertility, and the reactions of mares in relation to type of voice. Voice acoustic features are correlated with arousal and reproduction success, the lower-pitched the stallion's voice, the slower his heart beat and the higher his fertility. Females from three study groups preferred playbacks of low-pitched voices. Hence, females are attracted by frequencies encoding for large male size, calmness and high fertility. More work is needed to explore the relative importance of morpho-physiological features. Assortative mating may be involved as large females preferred voices of larger stallions. Our study contributes to basic and applied ongoing research on mammal reproduction, and questions the mechanisms used by females to detect males' fertility.

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A spectrogram of a whinny showing acoustic measures taken.
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pone.0118468.g001: A spectrogram of a whinny showing acoustic measures taken.

Mentions: Spectrograms were extracted using ANA software [38] with Linux (FFT size 256) for subsequent acoustic measurements. A typical whinny is composed of three parts [33]: a first loud, relatively flat and tonal part (named here Part 1 or ‘Introduction’), a second relatively atonal part, more or less rhythmical, including long modulated units (Part 2, ‘Climax’) and a third very soft and rhythmical part with very short units (Part 3, ‘End’). For comparative reasons, we measured the same 12 acoustic parameters as Lemasson et al. [33] and averaged the data per stallion (Fig. 1): F01 (fundamental frequency of the Introduction), Fmax1, 2, 3, T (dominant frequency, i.e. frequency value with the maximal intensity, of Parts 1, 2, 3 and entire call, measured on the intensity spectrum), Fb2 (basic frequency of the Climax, i.e. first frequency reinforced, because the fundamental frequency is not always identifiable), D1, 2, 3, T, U2 (durations of Parts 1, 2, 3, entire call and Part 2 units), NbU2 (number of units in Part 2).


Mares prefer the voices of highly fertile stallions.

Lemasson A, Remeuf K, Trabalon M, Cuir F, Hausberger M - PLoS ONE (2015)

A spectrogram of a whinny showing acoustic measures taken.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4340864&req=5

pone.0118468.g001: A spectrogram of a whinny showing acoustic measures taken.
Mentions: Spectrograms were extracted using ANA software [38] with Linux (FFT size 256) for subsequent acoustic measurements. A typical whinny is composed of three parts [33]: a first loud, relatively flat and tonal part (named here Part 1 or ‘Introduction’), a second relatively atonal part, more or less rhythmical, including long modulated units (Part 2, ‘Climax’) and a third very soft and rhythmical part with very short units (Part 3, ‘End’). For comparative reasons, we measured the same 12 acoustic parameters as Lemasson et al. [33] and averaged the data per stallion (Fig. 1): F01 (fundamental frequency of the Introduction), Fmax1, 2, 3, T (dominant frequency, i.e. frequency value with the maximal intensity, of Parts 1, 2, 3 and entire call, measured on the intensity spectrum), Fb2 (basic frequency of the Climax, i.e. first frequency reinforced, because the fundamental frequency is not always identifiable), D1, 2, 3, T, U2 (durations of Parts 1, 2, 3, entire call and Part 2 units), NbU2 (number of units in Part 2).

Bottom Line: Females from three study groups preferred playbacks of low-pitched voices.More work is needed to explore the relative importance of morpho-physiological features.Assortative mating may be involved as large females preferred voices of larger stallions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Université de Rennes 1, Laboratoire d'éthologie animale et humaine, UMR 6552- C.N.R.S., Paimpont, France; Institut Universitaire de France, Paris, France.

ABSTRACT
We investigated the possibility that stallion whinnies, known to encode caller size, also encoded information about caller arousal and fertility, and the reactions of mares in relation to type of voice. Voice acoustic features are correlated with arousal and reproduction success, the lower-pitched the stallion's voice, the slower his heart beat and the higher his fertility. Females from three study groups preferred playbacks of low-pitched voices. Hence, females are attracted by frequencies encoding for large male size, calmness and high fertility. More work is needed to explore the relative importance of morpho-physiological features. Assortative mating may be involved as large females preferred voices of larger stallions. Our study contributes to basic and applied ongoing research on mammal reproduction, and questions the mechanisms used by females to detect males' fertility.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus