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Bioacoustic articles: Behaviour 143, No 5 (May 2006)

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Subject: Bioacoustic articles: Behaviour 143, No 5 (May 2006)
From: "Frank Veit" <>
Date: Fri, 26 May 2006 12:06:43 EDT
Behaviour 143, 5 (May 2006)

Tomaszycki, ML & E Adkins-Regan (2006) Is male song quality important in 
maintaining pair bonds? Behaviour 143: 549-567.


This study investigated a possible mechanism for maintaining long-term
pair bonds in a socially monogamous songbird, the zebra finch
(/Taeniopygia guttata/). Only males sing in this species. Song is
thought to be important in female choice, and our earlier research
showed that distortion of song by tracheosyringeal nerve transection
(TS) and temporary muting by puncturing the interclavicular air sac (AS)
both had profound effects on female's choice of male mates and pair
formation. Males continue to sing when paired, though function and
importance of this song is not well understood. The current study
investigated whether these same vocal manipulations affected the
maintenance of pair bonds. A total of 27 males and females formed pairs
in aviaries. After 3 weeks of pairing and one week after the start of
egg laying, males were experimentally manipulated. Eggs were then
removed, so that females were forced to decide whether or not to engage
in another breeding attempt with their mate. Novel unpaired males and
females were added to the aviaries for potential extra pair copulation
partners or new mates and pairs were then observed for four weeks. Only
two pairs separated after song-altering surgery (both in the TS group),
and one of these TS males quickly paired with another female. Of the
pairs that remained together, there were no significant differences in
courtship or pairing behaviors compared with control pairs. These
results suggest that song quality has surprisingly little effect on
female pairing decisions once the pair has formed, and that the song
quality mechanisms of pair bond formation are not required in the
maintenance of the pair bond. 

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