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Male quality and conspecific scent preferences in the house finch, Carpodacus mexicanus

AuthorsAmo, Luisa ; López-Rull, Isabel ; Pagán, Iluminada; Macías García, Constantino
KeywordsAvian olfaction
Carpodacus mexicanus
Chemical ecology
Intrasexual interaction
Male quality
Mate choice
Sex recognition
Issue DateDec-2012
CitationAnimal Behaviour 84(6): 1483-1489 (2012)
AbstractThere is increasing evidence that birds use chemical cues in different contexts, and this is changing the traditional view that birds are the only largely olfaction-free vertebrates. We performed a choice experiment to examine whether male house finches exhibit any preferences for the sex of conspecifics when only their chemical cues are available. When exposed during the breeding season to the scent of a male and a female, males appeared to respond indiscriminately to both odours. However, when we analysed a posteriori the choices of males in relation to their relative quality, males with worse quality than scent donor males avoided the male-scented area, whereas males with better quality moved towards the male-scented area. Our results suggest that in the context of mate choice/competition for mates, house finches may obtain information via olfaction to assess the quality of rival males.
DescriptionReceived 7 June 2012, Revised 10 July 2012, Accepted 10 September 2012, Available online 16 October 2012
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.09.021
Appears in Collections:(MNCN) Artículos
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