The effects of rearing conditions on sexual traits and preferences in zebra finches

Leiden Repository

The effects of rearing conditions on sexual traits and preferences in zebra finches

Type: Doctoral Thesis
Title: The effects of rearing conditions on sexual traits and preferences in zebra finches
Author: Holveck, Marie-Jeanne
Publisher: Department of Behavioural Biology, Institute of Biology, Faculty of Science, Leiden University
Issue Date: 2008-02-28
Keywords: Self-perceived attractiveness
Preference repeatability
State-dependent mate choice
Condition-dependent preference
Condition-dependent signal
Song structure
Song syntax learning
Developmental stress
Brood size manipulation
Zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata
Abstract: Although theory predicts that females should prefer the highest quality male, female mating preferences within populations often show pronounced variation. What causes and maintains this variation remains poorly understood. This thesis addresses the influence of rearing conditions both on female mating preferences and male advertising signals in the zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata. It reconciles earlier apparently contradicting findings on the relative importance of visual versus acoustic signals by comparing females’ preferences across three commonly used testing contexts. It then goes on using brood size manipulations and operant conditioning tests to ask for the effects of developmental condition on sexual traits and preferences. Birds that were raised in small or large broods differed in adult morphology and physiology and adult behaviour: male advertising song and female mating preferences reflected developmental condition. Moreover, the mating behaviour of poor condition females provides the first experimental evidence of self-perceived attractiveness in animals influencing their partner choice. The results provide strong empirical support for theoretical models of state-dependent mate choice.
Description: Promotor: C. ten Kate, Co-promotor: K. Riebel
With Summary in French
With Summary in Dutch
Faculty: Faculteit der Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen
Citation: Holveck, M.J., 2008, Doctoral Thesis, Leiden University
ISBN: 9789090227672
Sponsor: This work was supported by the Research Council for Earth and Life Sciences (ALW, grant number 813.04.004) with financial aid from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).

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