Developmental stress and female mate choice behaviour in the zebra finch

Woodgate, Joseph L., Bennett, Andrew T. D., Leitner, Stefan, Catchpole, Clive K. and Buchanan, Katherine L. 2010, Developmental stress and female mate choice behaviour in the zebra finch, Animal behaviour, vol. 79, no. 6, pp. 1381-1390.

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Title Developmental stress and female mate choice behaviour in the zebra finch
Author(s) Woodgate, Joseph L.
Bennett, Andrew T. D.
Leitner, Stefan
Catchpole, Clive K.
Buchanan, Katherine L.
Journal name Animal behaviour
Volume number 79
Issue number 6
Start page 1381
End page 1390
Total pages 10
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2010-06
ISSN 0003-3472
1095-8282
Keyword(s) developmental stress
early environment
female choice
mate choice
mating preference
sexual selection
Taeniopygia guttata
zebra finch
Summary The potential effects of early environmental conditions on adult female mate choice have been largely neglected in studies of sexual selection. Our study tested whether developmental stress affects the mate choice behaviour of female zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata, when choosing between potential mates. In an experiment manipulating developmental condition, female zebra finches were raised under nutritional stress or control conditions. In adulthood, female preferences were assessed using extensive four-stimulus mate choice trials. Nutritional stress affected growth rates during the period of stress, with experimentally stressed females lighter than controls. During mate choice trials stressed females were almost three times less active than controls and made fewer sampling visits to the stimulus males, although we found no evidence of a direct effect of developmental experience on which males were preferred. Thus, developmental experience had a clear effect on behavioural patterns in a mate choice context. To test whether this effect is specific to a mate choice context, we also investigated the effect of developmental stress on female activity rates in three social contexts: isolation, contact with a conspecific male (a potential mate) and contact with a conspecific female. Here, female activity did not differ between the experimental treatments in any of the social situations. Overall, our findings suggest that environmental conditions during early development can have long-term context-dependent consequences for adult female mate choice behaviour, mediated by changes in activity rates.
Language eng
Field of Research 060399 Evolutionary Biology not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
HERDC collection year 2010
Copyright notice ©2010, The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30029486

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