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Singing and mating success in water pipits: one specific song element makes all the difference.


Rehsteiner, U; Geisser, H; Reyer, H U (1998). Singing and mating success in water pipits: one specific song element makes all the difference. Animal Behaviour, 55(6):1471-1481.

Abstract

Positive correlations between male vocalization and reproductive success have been documented for many animal species. They are usually based on differences between males in vocalization rate, duration or repertoire size. Here, we present probably the first field study linking differences in territorial overlap and mating status to differences in a single, clearly definable song element, the ‘Snarr’. Male water pipits,Anthus spinoletta, with high Snarr scores were mated more often than males with low scores, and their territories overlapped less with those of neighbours. Although correlating positively with male body condition, the frequency of the Snarr did not reflect male age, territory size, territory quality in terms of food and paternal performance. Therefore, it seems unlikely that the higher mating success of males with high Snarr scores results from active female choice of high-quality males; rather, high Snarr scores seem to signal dominance in males. Likely mechanisms that produce the link between vocalization and mating success, and potential costs that prevent some males from producing the Snarr at a higher rate, are discussed.

Positive correlations between male vocalization and reproductive success have been documented for many animal species. They are usually based on differences between males in vocalization rate, duration or repertoire size. Here, we present probably the first field study linking differences in territorial overlap and mating status to differences in a single, clearly definable song element, the ‘Snarr’. Male water pipits,Anthus spinoletta, with high Snarr scores were mated more often than males with low scores, and their territories overlapped less with those of neighbours. Although correlating positively with male body condition, the frequency of the Snarr did not reflect male age, territory size, territory quality in terms of food and paternal performance. Therefore, it seems unlikely that the higher mating success of males with high Snarr scores results from active female choice of high-quality males; rather, high Snarr scores seem to signal dominance in males. Likely mechanisms that produce the link between vocalization and mating success, and potential costs that prevent some males from producing the Snarr at a higher rate, are discussed.

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39 citations in Web of Science®
41 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:1998
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:15
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:14
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0003-3472
Publisher DOI:10.1006/anbe.1998.0733
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-531

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