Appearance, “state,” and behavior in male zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata

Schuett, Wiebke and Dall, Sasha R X (2010) Appearance, “state,” and behavior in male zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata. Journal of Ethology, 28 (2). pp. 273-286. ISSN 0289-0771

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Secondary sexual traits are often costly to produce and therefore an individual’s appearance can signal its quality. As the quality of an individual influences the payoffs associated with the actions it can perform, its appearance should also influence its behavior. Here we investigate whether male zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata, change their behavior (and their energetic states) after artificial manipulations of their appearance, using different colored leg bands, and if such effects carry over after the end of the manipulation, as might be expected if appearance-mediated social dynamics “lock” individuals into different states. During three experimental phases, in which all males in a group wore neutral colored leg bands at the beginning (phase I), then wore attractive, unattractive, and neutral colored bands, respectively (phase II), before wearing the neutral color again (phase III), we found no evidence of an effect of the appearance manipulation on state, weight or any behavioral traits we measured. Nevertheless, we found that individuals that stored more fat were more likely to initiate and win aggressive interactions but were less likely to be recipients of aggression. This association between energetic state and aggressive behavior is discussed from both strategic body mass regulation and sexual selection perspectives.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Depositing User: Wiebke Schuett
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2018 16:47
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2018 16:47
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