Navigation Links
Avian 'Axe effect' attracts attention of females and males
Date:7/19/2011

EAST LANSING, Mich. In a case of life imitating art, avian scents given off by male songbirds have the females (and males) flocking in.

A Michigan State University researcher revealed the process of how males draw attention to themselves through chemical communication in the current issue of Behavioral Ecology. Scents are used in all organisms for many purposes, such as finding, attracting and evaluating mates. But this is the first study of its kind that demonstrates that it is happening among songbirds, said Danielle Whittaker, managing director of MSU's BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action.

Body-spray commercials feature young men dousing themselves with fragrance and voila hordes of beautiful women or even bands of angels descend upon them. Male birds deploy a similar tactic when they release their cologne or preen oil secreted from a gland at the base of their tail. It not only works to attract the attention of female birds, but it also has the unintended effect of attracting males as well.

"It's kind of like the 'Axe effect,' in that females were attracted to the scent and didn't seem to care where it came from, meaning their own population or a different one even though birds in these populations look and behave differently," Whittaker said. "And I think the males were drawn in as an aggressive response to the scent of another male."

Traditionally, songbirds have been written off in terms of using their sense of smell because they have the smallest olfactory bulbs relative to brain size among all birds. Recently, however, researchers have discovered that songbirds harbor a high number of olfactory receptors, and they've been able to prove that the birds are capable of using odors to help find their way.

So, Whittaker and her collaborators in Ellen Ketterson's lab at Indiana University weren't surprised to discover that the birds used scent in attracting mates. Some eyebrows were raised, though, when they learned how attractive the scent was across populations and sexes. Another interesting find was that when given a choice, the female birds preferred the odor of the smaller males, Whittaker said.

"However, in a previous study, when they got to see the actual birds, they tended to prefer larger males with larger plumage ornaments," she said. "Based on these results, I'm hoping to find out how and why small, unattractive males overcompensate by producing greater amounts of an attractive scent."


'/>"/>

Contact: Layne Cameron
layne.cameron@ur.msu.edu
517-353-8819
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Avian flu threat: New approach needed
2. Genetic evidence for avian influenza movement from Asia to North America via wild birds
3. Protein tubules free avian flu virus from immune recognition
4. Avian flu becoming more resistant to antiviral drugs, says University of Colorado study
5. Shades of 1918? New study compares avian flu with a notorious killer from the past
6. Avian flu research sheds light on swine flu outbreak
7. The challenges of avian influenza virus: Mechanism, epidemiology and control
8. Scandinavians are descended from Stone Age immigrants
9. New research findings can improve avian flu surveillance programs
10. Business affiliation could increase potential risk of farm-to-farm transmission of avian influenza
11. Stone Age Scandinavians unable to digest milk
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/24/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Biometric Vehicle Access ... 15.1% over the next decade to reach approximately $1,580 million by ... and forecasts for all the given segments on global as well ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... LIVERMORE, Calif. , March 21, 2017 ... recognition analytics company serving law enforcement agencies, announced today ... Sheridan as director of public safety business development. ... of diversified law enforcement experience, including a focus on ... Vigilant. In his most recent position, Mr. Sheridan served ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... Australia , March 9, 2017 4Dx ... prestigious World Lung Imaging Workshop at the University of ... was invited to deliver the latest data to world ... recognised event brings together leaders at the forefront of ... in lung imaging. "The quality of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... 27, 2017 , ... The Council for Agricultural Science and ... Lusk, a consummate communicator who promotes agricultural science and technology in the public ... explains how innovation and growth in agriculture are critical for food security and ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... ... April 26, 2017 , ... Led by ex-FDA official ... trials comes to Tampa, San Francisco and Boston in 2017. The 2016 ... organizations such as Pfizer Inc., Teva Pharmaceuticals, Advaxis, Inc., Ocular Therapeutix Inc., Cell ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... Pa. , April 26, 2017  Genisphere ... delivery platform, has signed a collaborative and sponsored ... Dr. Silvia Muro . The overall goal ... and pharmacodynamics of various 3DNA designs and formulations ... involve targeting diseases of the vasculature as well ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... Dr. Robert G. Schwartz, ... proudly announced today that acclaimed physiatrist Matthew Terzella, MD, has joined the practice ... , Dr. Terzella completed his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at UMDNJ-Robert ...
Breaking Biology Technology: