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Quality of public information matters in mate-choice copying in female zebra finches.

Kniel N, Schmitz J, Witte K - Front. Zool. (2015)

Bottom Line: Among zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata castanotis), only females (not males) copy the mate choice of others.After the observation period, females could again choose between new males of the two phenotypes in a second mate-choice test.Our results demonstrate that the quality of the received public information (visual and acoustic interaction of the observed pair) influences mate-choice copying in female zebra finches.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Chemistry and Biology, Institute of Biology, Research Group of Ecology and Behavioral Biology, Adolf-Reichwein-Str. 2, 57068 Siegen, Germany.

ABSTRACT

Background: Mate-choice copying is a form of social learning in which an individual gains information about potential mates by observing conspecifics. However, it is still unknown what kind of information drives the decision of an individual to copy the mate choice of others. Among zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata castanotis), only females (not males) copy the mate choice of others. We tested female zebra finches in a binary choice test where they, first, could choose between two males of different phenotypes: one unadorned male and one male artificially adorned with a red feather on the forehead. After this mate-choice test, females could observe a single unadorned male and a pair of zebra finches, i.e. a wild-type female and her adorned mate. Pair interactions were either restricted to acoustic and visual communication (clear glass screen between pair mates) or acoustic communication alone (opaque screen between pair mates). After the observation period, females could again choose between new males of the two phenotypes in a second mate-choice test.

Results: In experiments with a clear glass screen, time spent with the respective males changed between the two mate-choice tests, and females preferred adorned over unadorned males during the second mate-choice test. In experiments with an opaque screen, time spent with the respective males did not change between the two mate-choice tests, although females lost an initial preference for unadorned males.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that the quality of the received public information (visual and acoustic interaction of the observed pair) influences mate-choice copying in female zebra finches.

No MeSH data available.


Results. Experiments with a a clear glass screen (grey line) and b an opaque screen (black line). Box plot showing median, first and third quartile, 95 % confidence limits and open points as outliers for mate-choice scores of time spent with adorned males (grey bars) and unadorned males (black bars). 1st test = first mate-choice test, 2nd test = second mate-choice test, obs. period = observation period, * = significant difference, ns = no significant difference
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Fig1: Results. Experiments with a a clear glass screen (grey line) and b an opaque screen (black line). Box plot showing median, first and third quartile, 95 % confidence limits and open points as outliers for mate-choice scores of time spent with adorned males (grey bars) and unadorned males (black bars). 1st test = first mate-choice test, 2nd test = second mate-choice test, obs. period = observation period, * = significant difference, ns = no significant difference

Mentions: Choosing motivation (total time spent in both mate-choice zones during the 2 × 20 min mate-choice test) did not change between the first and the second mate-choice test (Wilcoxon-test: Z = −0.70, N = 15, p = 0.460). Mate-choice scores of time spent with adorned males were affected by test number (rmANOVA: F1,14 = 10.474, p = 0.006; Fig. 1a). Females spent more time with adorned males and less time with unadorned males during the second than during the first mate-choice test. Females showed no preference for one of the two males during the first mate-choice test (one-sample t-test: t = −0.800, df = 14, p = 0.437). However, excluding one extreme case in which a female spent only 20 s with the unadorned male while spending nearly 2000 s with the adorned male during the first mate-choice test, females showed a significant preference for unadorned males during the first mate-choice test (one-sample t-test: t = −2.352, df = 13, p = 0.035). Females preferred adorned over unadorned males during the second mate-choice test (one-sample t-test: t = −2.323, df = 14, p = 0.036). Pairs of stimulus males in all three steps of the experiment (p ≥ 0.312), as well as test females and stimulus females (unpaired t-test: t = 0.060, df = 28, p = 0.952), did not differ in weight (see Additional file 1). Adorned and unadorned males spent a similar amount of time in proximity to the test females in both mate-choice tests (p ≥ 0.461) (see Additional file 1) and sang a similar amount of times in both mate-choice tests (p ≥ 0.699) (see Additional file 1).Fig. 1


Quality of public information matters in mate-choice copying in female zebra finches.

Kniel N, Schmitz J, Witte K - Front. Zool. (2015)

Results. Experiments with a a clear glass screen (grey line) and b an opaque screen (black line). Box plot showing median, first and third quartile, 95 % confidence limits and open points as outliers for mate-choice scores of time spent with adorned males (grey bars) and unadorned males (black bars). 1st test = first mate-choice test, 2nd test = second mate-choice test, obs. period = observation period, * = significant difference, ns = no significant difference
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4591742&req=5

Fig1: Results. Experiments with a a clear glass screen (grey line) and b an opaque screen (black line). Box plot showing median, first and third quartile, 95 % confidence limits and open points as outliers for mate-choice scores of time spent with adorned males (grey bars) and unadorned males (black bars). 1st test = first mate-choice test, 2nd test = second mate-choice test, obs. period = observation period, * = significant difference, ns = no significant difference
Mentions: Choosing motivation (total time spent in both mate-choice zones during the 2 × 20 min mate-choice test) did not change between the first and the second mate-choice test (Wilcoxon-test: Z = −0.70, N = 15, p = 0.460). Mate-choice scores of time spent with adorned males were affected by test number (rmANOVA: F1,14 = 10.474, p = 0.006; Fig. 1a). Females spent more time with adorned males and less time with unadorned males during the second than during the first mate-choice test. Females showed no preference for one of the two males during the first mate-choice test (one-sample t-test: t = −0.800, df = 14, p = 0.437). However, excluding one extreme case in which a female spent only 20 s with the unadorned male while spending nearly 2000 s with the adorned male during the first mate-choice test, females showed a significant preference for unadorned males during the first mate-choice test (one-sample t-test: t = −2.352, df = 13, p = 0.035). Females preferred adorned over unadorned males during the second mate-choice test (one-sample t-test: t = −2.323, df = 14, p = 0.036). Pairs of stimulus males in all three steps of the experiment (p ≥ 0.312), as well as test females and stimulus females (unpaired t-test: t = 0.060, df = 28, p = 0.952), did not differ in weight (see Additional file 1). Adorned and unadorned males spent a similar amount of time in proximity to the test females in both mate-choice tests (p ≥ 0.461) (see Additional file 1) and sang a similar amount of times in both mate-choice tests (p ≥ 0.699) (see Additional file 1).Fig. 1

Bottom Line: Among zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata castanotis), only females (not males) copy the mate choice of others.After the observation period, females could again choose between new males of the two phenotypes in a second mate-choice test.Our results demonstrate that the quality of the received public information (visual and acoustic interaction of the observed pair) influences mate-choice copying in female zebra finches.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Chemistry and Biology, Institute of Biology, Research Group of Ecology and Behavioral Biology, Adolf-Reichwein-Str. 2, 57068 Siegen, Germany.

ABSTRACT

Background: Mate-choice copying is a form of social learning in which an individual gains information about potential mates by observing conspecifics. However, it is still unknown what kind of information drives the decision of an individual to copy the mate choice of others. Among zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata castanotis), only females (not males) copy the mate choice of others. We tested female zebra finches in a binary choice test where they, first, could choose between two males of different phenotypes: one unadorned male and one male artificially adorned with a red feather on the forehead. After this mate-choice test, females could observe a single unadorned male and a pair of zebra finches, i.e. a wild-type female and her adorned mate. Pair interactions were either restricted to acoustic and visual communication (clear glass screen between pair mates) or acoustic communication alone (opaque screen between pair mates). After the observation period, females could again choose between new males of the two phenotypes in a second mate-choice test.

Results: In experiments with a clear glass screen, time spent with the respective males changed between the two mate-choice tests, and females preferred adorned over unadorned males during the second mate-choice test. In experiments with an opaque screen, time spent with the respective males did not change between the two mate-choice tests, although females lost an initial preference for unadorned males.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that the quality of the received public information (visual and acoustic interaction of the observed pair) influences mate-choice copying in female zebra finches.

No MeSH data available.