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Do Female Stickleback Care About Male Courtship Vigour? Manipulation of Display Tempo Using Video Playback

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[Reproductive ♂ and ♀ threespine stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus were presented with a videotaped sequence of a zigzag dancing ♂ played back at normal (T), half (0.5T), one-and-a-half (1.5T), double (2T) and triple (3T) tempo. Playbacks were displayed pairwise (T/0.5T; T/ 1.5T; T/2T; T/3T) on monitors placed at opposite ends of the test tank. Each playback pair was displayed to subjects for 4 min, with display locations switched to opposite ends of the test tank at 2 min to control for position preference. Both ♂ and ♀ subjects responded to playback images much like they do to live ♂♂, ∏demonstrating the potential of video playback for analysing visual communication in stickleback. Male and ♀ subjects contacted 1.5T and 2T images as much as images moving at normal tempo but they contacted 0.5T and 3T images less. Thus, subjects were more attracted to ♂♂ displaying at normal to slightly faster tempo than to ♂♂ displaying outside that range. The stabilizing selection that such effects might impose on animals could contribute to the typical intensity that characterizes much of their display behaviour., Reproductive ♂ and ♀ threespine stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus were presented with a videotaped sequence of a zigzag dancing ♂ played back at normal (T), half (0.5T), one-and-a-half (1.5T), double (2T) and triple (3T) tempo. Playbacks were displayed pairwise (T/0.5T; T/ 1.5T; T/2T; T/3T) on monitors placed at opposite ends of the test tank. Each playback pair was displayed to subjects for 4 min, with display locations switched to opposite ends of the test tank at 2 min to control for position preference. Both ♂ and ♀ subjects responded to playback images much like they do to live ♂♂, ∏demonstrating the potential of video playback for analysing visual communication in stickleback. Male and ♀ subjects contacted 1.5T and 2T images as much as images moving at normal tempo but they contacted 0.5T and 3T images less. Thus, subjects were more attracted to ♂♂ displaying at normal to slightly faster tempo than to ♂♂ displaying outside that range. The stabilizing selection that such effects might impose on animals could contribute to the typical intensity that characterizes much of their display behaviour.]

Affiliations: 1: (Department of Biology & Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior, Indiana University, Bloomington IN 47405 U.S.A.

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