Mate choice in zebra finches: does corticosterone play a role?

Roberts, M. L., Buchanan, K. L., Bennett, A. T. D. and Evans, M. R. 2007, Mate choice in zebra finches: does corticosterone play a role?, Animal behaviour, vol. 74, no. 4, pp. 921-929.

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Title Mate choice in zebra finches: does corticosterone play a role?
Author(s) Roberts, M. L.
Buchanan, K. L.
Bennett, A. T. D.
Evans, M. R.
Journal name Animal behaviour
Volume number 74
Issue number 4
Start page 921
End page 929
Publisher Baillière, Tindall and Cassell [etc.].
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2007-10
ISSN 0003-3472
1095-8282
Keyword(s) corticosterone
mate choice
selection programme
sexual signal
spectrophotometry
taeniopygia guttata
testosterone
zebra finch
Summary The importance of stress as a factor in influencing life history strategies has received considerable attention in recent years, because it appears to have a substantial impact on an individual's behaviour and physiology. Birds respond to environmental and social stressors by the production of corticosterone, a glucocorticoid hormone released by the adrenal gland. In this experiment, we tested whether female zebra finches preferred males selected to produce low or high peak levels of circulating plasma corticosterone. Plasma corticosterone and testosterone levels of the males were recorded, as were morphometric measurements and perch activity. Spectrophotometric measurements were also taken from several putatively sexually selected regions of the males. The females preferred the males from the low corticosterone lines to the high corticosterone males. In addition to, and consistent with this effect, females preferred males with the lowest corticosterone titres. Male activity, testosterone level, body size and mass had no effect on female preference. Leg and beak brightness were important, however, as were the brightness and chromaticity of the male cheek patch. These results are discussed in relation to contemporary hypotheses in sexual selection, particularly in the context of stress-mediated signalling.
Language eng
Field of Research 060399 Evolutionary Biology not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2007, The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30018526

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