Active female sampling of male display predicts female uncertainty in mate choice
Cendes, Linda Marie
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Information on how females use male display elements can be critical in understanding mate choice. Females often passively sample male displays, therefore female use of an element can be difficult to quantify. In satin bowerbirds, female tasting associated with male paint offers an opportunity to study how females actively assess of male display. In a preliminary study, I found that tasting was less common by females during courtships ending in copulation. This suggested that females with a greater proportion of tastes are less certain in their mate choice. I tested this hypothesis in several ways, and each indicated that a greater proportion of tasting was associated with measures suggesting mate choice uncertainty: visiting more times and more males, mating with multiple males, and switching among males. This active sampling behavior allows for examination of female assessment of a single component of male display and to predict certain female characteristics.