Illusions vary because of the types of decorations at bowers, not male skill at arranging them, in great bowerbirds

Doerr, Natalie R. and Endler, John A. 2015, Illusions vary because of the types of decorations at bowers, not male skill at arranging them, in great bowerbirds, Animal behaviour, vol. 99, pp. 73-82, doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2014.10.022.

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Title Illusions vary because of the types of decorations at bowers, not male skill at arranging them, in great bowerbirds
Author(s) Doerr, Natalie R.
Endler, John A.ORCID iD for Endler, John A.
Journal name Animal behaviour
Volume number 99
Start page 73
End page 82
Total pages 10
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2015-01
ISSN 0003-3472
Keyword(s) Environmental variation
Extended phenotype
Forced perspective
Great bowerbird
Honest signalling
Male quality variation
Nonbodily ornament
Ptilonorhynchus nuchalis
Sexual selection
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Behavioral Sciences
Summary Many animals use extended phenotypes to attract mates, but the availability of suitable resources in the environment can affect the size and form of these signals, with unknown consequences for honest signalling. In some populations of the great bowerbird, Ptilonorhynchus nuchalis, males arrange decorations by size, with smaller decorations placed closer to the bower entrance than larger decorations. This may create a more even background pattern from the female's viewpoint within the bower than if decorations were arranged randomly. Males show consistent, individual variation in the size-distance gradient, which could reflect variation among males in the cognitive skills needed to arrange decorations. We examined whether individual consistency in gradient characteristics is related to a male's skill at decoration arrangement or the types of decorations at bowers. We paired 18 males and switched bower decorations between pairs. We measured gradient characteristics before switching and 4 and 8 days after switching. Gradient characteristics after switching were related to those of the bower from which decorations were received, not to those of the male's own bower before switching. Gradient characteristics were also related to the types of decorations received, including bones and snail shells. These results suggest that variation among males in the size-distance gradient is explained by differences in the availability of decorations at bowers, not the cognitive skills required to arrange decorations. Although variation in gradient characteristics could indicate the male's ability to locate and transport particular decorations, it could also reflect local availability of objects, with no relationship to male quality.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.anbehav.2014.10.022
Field of Research 060399 Evolutionary Biology not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2014, Elsevier
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