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bioacoustics article: Ethology, Aug. 2003

Subject: bioacoustics article: Ethology, Aug. 2003
From: Dave Mellinger <>
Date: Wed, 03 Sep 2003 08:01:24 -0700
female ornament size
 Matteo Griggio, Giuliano Matessi & Andrea Pilastro
 Ethology 109(8): 659-670
 August 2003
 We investigated the relationship between male nest defence and female
 breast patch size in an alpine population of rock sparrow (Petronia
 petronia) in northern Italy. We presented a mounted weasel (Mustela
 nivalis), a common nest predator, to 28 pairs breeding in nest boxes,
 with 12-13-d-old nestlings, and measured the intensity of male and
 female defence reaction. We measured the frequency of attack flights,
 intensity of alarm calling and total time spent in view, and then
 combined these for each individual, in a single defence factor by
 principal component analysis. All the females arrived to defend the
 nest while only 21 males arrived, and females defended the nest more
 intensely than males. We analysed, by stepwise regression, the
 relationship of male defence factor to female behaviour and phenotype
 (breast patch size, a measure of quality) and brood properties (size,
 mass, phenology). Male defence factor was significantly related only
 to female breast patch size. We argue that male rock sparrows
 apparently make parental investment decisions according to their
 mate's quality, and examine possible alternative hypotheses.

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