Affiliative preferences are stable and predict mate choices in both sexes of Japanese quail, Coturnix japonica
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Most laboratory studies of mate choice use affiliation as a surrogate measure for actual choice of a partner for copulation. In a series of recent studies using affiliation as a dependent variable, we showed that the tendency of both male and female Japanese quail to affiliate with members of the opposite sex is profoundly affected by seeing them mate with others: female quails show an increased tendency to affiliate with males that they have seen mating; and male quails show a decreased tendency to affiliate with females that they have seen mating. In the present experiments, we examined: (1) the consistency of affiliative preferences of male and female quail for individuals of both the same and opposite sex; and (2) the validity of measures of affiliation as predictors of choice of an individual with whom to mate. We found that: (1) both male and female quail display consistency from trial to trial in their affiliative preferences for members of the opposite but not the same sex, and (2) affiliative preference is a powerful predictor of choice of a partner for copulation in both male and female quail. In Japanese quail, affiliative behaviour is consistent over time and predicts mate choice. Copyright 1999 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.
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