Colour cues that are not directly attached to the body of males do not influence the mate choice of Zebra Finches

Krause ET (2016)
PLoS One 11: e0167674.

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Journal Article | Original Article | Published | English
Abstract
Mate choice decisions of female zebra finches are generally thought to rely on the assessment of male quality, which includes the specific ornamentation of males. A commonly used paradigm to experimentally manipulate a male’s attractiveness is to add a coloured leg ring to the bird. Some studies have shown that female zebra finches prefer or alter their investment in males that have an additional red leg ring compared with males with green leg rings. Whether the coloured artificial ornaments need to be attached to the male’s body or whether environmental colouration could have a similar effect on male attractiveness remains unclear. Here, I investigated this novel context to determine whether female choice between males is affected by environmental colour cues that are not directly attached to the male’s body in four experiments involving 220 zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). A first experiment revealed that females chose males with red colour cues in the environmental background over males with green cues in the background. Based on this finding, I conducted follow-up experiments to obtain a deeper understanding of how environmental colour cues affect mate choice. Therefore, I examined whether female choice behaviour or male behaviour was altered in two additional experiments. Both experiments failed to show any effects of environmental colour cues on female choice or on male behaviour. Therefore, I replicated the initial experiment in a fourth experiment. Again replication failed; thus, the initial results indicating that environmental colouration affects mate choice behaviour of female zebra finches were not supported by the three subsequent experiments; thus, the outcome of the first experiment seems to be a false positive. Taking my results together, I found no robust support for the idea that environmental colour cues that are not directly attached to the body of male zebra finches affect female mate choice decisions.
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Article Processing Charge funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Open Access Publication Fund of Bielefeld University.
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Krause ET. Colour cues that are not directly attached to the body of males do not influence the mate choice of Zebra Finches. PLoS One. 2016;11: e0167674.
Krause, E. T. (2016). Colour cues that are not directly attached to the body of males do not influence the mate choice of Zebra Finches. PLoS One, 11, e0167674. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0167674
Krause, E. T. (2016). Colour cues that are not directly attached to the body of males do not influence the mate choice of Zebra Finches. PLoS One 11:e0167674.
Krause, E.T., 2016. Colour cues that are not directly attached to the body of males do not influence the mate choice of Zebra Finches. PLoS One, 11: e0167674.
E.T. Krause, “Colour cues that are not directly attached to the body of males do not influence the mate choice of Zebra Finches”, PLoS One, vol. 11, 2016, : e0167674.
Krause, E.T.: Colour cues that are not directly attached to the body of males do not influence the mate choice of Zebra Finches. PLoS One. 11, : e0167674 (2016).
Krause, E. Tobias. “Colour cues that are not directly attached to the body of males do not influence the mate choice of Zebra Finches”. PLoS One 11 (2016): e0167674.
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