Variability of female responses to conspecific vs. heterospecific male mating calls in polygynous deer: an open door to hybridization?

Wyman, Megan T, Charlton, Benjamin D, Locatelli, Yann and Reby, David (2011) Variability of female responses to conspecific vs. heterospecific male mating calls in polygynous deer: an open door to hybridization? PLoS ONE, 6 (8). e23296. ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

Males of all polygynous deer species (Cervinae) give conspicuous calls during the reproductive season. The extreme interspecific diversity that characterizes these vocalizations suggests that they play a strong role in species discrimination. However, interbreeding between several species of Cervinae indicates permeable interspecific reproductive barriers. This study examines the contribution of vocal behavior to female species discrimination and mating preferences in two closely related polygynous deer species known to hybridize in the wild after introductions. Specifically, we investigate the reaction of estrous female red deer (Cervus elaphus) to playbacks of red deer vs. sika deer (Cervus nippon) male mating calls, with the prediction that females will prefer conspecific calls. While on average female red deer preferred male red deer roars, two out of twenty females spent more time in close proximity to the speaker broadcasting male sika deer moans. We suggest that this absence of strict vocal preference for species-specific mating calls may contribute to the permeability of pre-zygotic reproductive barriers observed between these species. Our results also highlight the importance of examining inter- individual variation when studying the role of female preferences in species discrimination and intraspecific mate selection

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: David Reby
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:49
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2017 23:31
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/14559

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