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Sexual Responsiveness of Female Canaries To Song Bout Organization

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Recent experiments demonstrated that in oscine species, 1) Some special sequences of multipartite songs convey more sexual information than others and 2) Stimulus change or switching is often associated with intersexual interactions. We looked for an influence of these two song cues in common domesticated canaries. Female canaries were tested for their sexual copulation solicitation display (CSD) in response to the playbacks of different strings of song sequences from males of the same breed. In order to induce habituation, three monotonous strings were created: A.A.A.A.A.A; B.B.B.B.B.B and C.C.C.C.C.C. (repetition of the same song sequence). In order to manage disrupt of habituation by stimulus changes, four types of strings including two types of song sequences were created: B.B.B.A.A.A., A.A.A.B.B.B., C.C.C.B.B.B. and B.B.B.C.C.C. We found that a monotonous repetition of the same sequence leads to habituation when the sexual potency of the sequence is high (sequences A and B) and that song sequences may greatly differ in eliciting sexual displays (A >B>C). Subsequent stimulus change may elicit an immediate response recovery. But such a disrupt of habituation occurs only if a prefered sequence follows a non prefered one. We discuss prominent parameters that may have influenced female sensitivity and responsiveness to string organization in domesticated canaries.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratoire d'ethologie expérimentale et comparée, URA CNRS 667, Université Paris Nord, 93430, Villetaneuse, France

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