Social effects on mate choices of male Japanese quail,Coturnix japonica
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In four experiments, we examined effects on affiliative preferences of 'focal' male Japanese quail of seeing a conspecific female interact with another male. Each experiment was conducted in three 10-min phases: (1) a pretest during which a focal male chose between two females; (2) an observation phase, when each focal male watched the female he had spent more time near during the pretest (his 'preferred' female) interact with another male (referred to as a 'model' male); and (3) a post-test, during which each focal male again chose between his nonpreferred and preferred females. Focal males decreased their preferences for preferred females after seeing them together with a model male, even when preferred females and model males were separated by a transparent barrier that prevented them from mating, but allowed them to court. A focal male's preference for his preferred female did not decrease when the female mated with a model male out of sight of the focal male. These first results could reflect a tendency for males simply to avoid areas where they saw conspecifics courting. However, focal males also showed reduced preferences for preferred females they had seen mate when the locations of preferred and nonpreferred females were reversed between observation and post-test phases of the experiment and the effects of transposition were controlled for. We concluded that male quail tend to avoid areas that recently contained courting pairs, as well as particular females, seen courting. Copyright 1999 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.
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