The role of ultraviolet-A reflectance and ultraviolet-A-induced fluorescence in budgerigar mate choice

Pearn, Sophie M., Bennett, Andrew T. D. and Cuthill, Innes. C. 2003, The role of ultraviolet-A reflectance and ultraviolet-A-induced fluorescence in budgerigar mate choice, Ethology, vol. 109, no. 12, pp. 961-970.


Title The role of ultraviolet-A reflectance and ultraviolet-A-induced fluorescence in budgerigar mate choice
Author(s) Pearn, Sophie M.
Bennett, Andrew T. D.
Cuthill, Innes. C.
Journal name Ethology
Volume number 109
Issue number 12
Start page 961
End page 970
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Verlag
Place of publication Weinheim, Germany
Publication date 2003-12
ISSN 0179-1613
1439-0310
Summary Many parrots have plumage that either reflects strongly in the ultraviolet-A (UVA) waveband, between 315-400 nm, or exhibits UVA-induced fluorescence. Previous experimental work on budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) suggests that UVA reflectance plays a role in mate choice, as in other diurnal birds, but evidence for fluorescent cues playing a role is unconvincing. Here we report two experiments on budgerigars, designed to determine whether fluorescent cues play a role in signalling when UVA reflectances are absent, an approach which separates removal of UVA reflectance from removal of fluorescence. First, we determined whether the choices of different females are correlated under these treatment conditions. Secondly, we investigated female preferences for fluorescing and non-fluorescing males when UVA reflections are absent, to determine whether the yellow emissions of fluorescence are playing a role in mate choice. Results from experiment 1 do not suggest that females agree on which males are attractive when UVA reflectances are absent, with only half of the subjects choosing the same male. Neither did different females make the same choices in experiment 2. This lack of agreement provides further evidence that UVA reflectances from males play an important role in female choice in this species. Experiment 2 provides no evidence to suggest that UVA-induced fluorescence plays a role in mate choice. Overall, our study supports previous findings showing that UVA reflectance plays a role in sexual signalling in this species, but provides no evidence to suggest the same for fluorescence when UVA reflectances are absent.
Language eng
Field of Research 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2003, Blackwell Verlag, Berlin
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30022791

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