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Open Access Personality assortative female mating preferences in a songbird

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Personality assortative female mating preferences in a songbird

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Consistent individual behavioural differences (‘animal personalities’) are documented across a variety of animal taxa. Sexual selection, especially assortative mating has been suggested as a possible mechanism contributing to the maintenance of different personality types within populations but little is known about non-random pair-formation with respect to personality traits in unconstrained choice tests. We here tested whether female mating preferences were non-random with respect to male and female neophobia in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), an important avian model of mate choice and animal personality research. Male and female neophobia was assessed by attaching novel objects to birds’ feeders. Females’ mating preferences were tested with randomly assigned, unfamiliar males in a four-way choice apparatus. Females associated most with males with neophobia scores similar to their own. These results provide evidence that mating preferences and personality traits can covary, supporting evolutionary scenarios of assortative mating contributing to the maintenance of personality traits.

Affiliations: 1: aDepartment of Ethology, Eötvös Loránd University, Pázmány Péter sétány 1/c, H-1117 Budapest, Hungary ; 2: bMTA-PE Evolutionary Ecology Research Group, University of Pannonia, PO Box 158, H-8201 Veszprém, Hungary ; 3: cDepartment of Ecology, University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Rottenbiller u. 50, H-1077 Budapest, Hungary ; 4: dDepartment of Evolutionary Zoology and Human Biology, University of Debrecen, Egyetem tér 1, H-4032 Debrecen, Hungary ; 5: eMilner Centre for Evolution, Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, UK ; 6: fAnimal Science & Health, Institute of Biology, Leiden University, 2333 BE Leiden, The Netherlands

*Corresponding author’s e-mail address: akos.pogany@ttk.elte.hu
10.1163/1568539X-00003500
/content/journals/10.1163/1568539x-00003500
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Consistent individual behavioural differences (‘animal personalities’) are documented across a variety of animal taxa. Sexual selection, especially assortative mating has been suggested as a possible mechanism contributing to the maintenance of different personality types within populations but little is known about non-random pair-formation with respect to personality traits in unconstrained choice tests. We here tested whether female mating preferences were non-random with respect to male and female neophobia in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), an important avian model of mate choice and animal personality research. Male and female neophobia was assessed by attaching novel objects to birds’ feeders. Females’ mating preferences were tested with randomly assigned, unfamiliar males in a four-way choice apparatus. Females associated most with males with neophobia scores similar to their own. These results provide evidence that mating preferences and personality traits can covary, supporting evolutionary scenarios of assortative mating contributing to the maintenance of personality traits.

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2018-10-16

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