Navigation Links
Female birds 'jam' their mates' flirtatious songs
Date:3/12/2009

When a single female is nearby, female antbirds will sing over the songs of their male partners in an apparent attempt to keep their messages from getting through, according to a new report published online on March 12th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. Males respond to that interruption by singing a different tune.

The findings offer the first evidence that such "signal jamming" and "jamming avoidance" occur between mates, according to the researchers.

"In human terms, signal jamming is most commonly associated with attempts to scramble information in radio, radar, or cell phone signals," said Joseph Tobias of the University of Oxford. "The females in our study try to do a similar thing with the songs of their partner, but the overall situation is more analogous to a wife continually interrupting her husband to stop him from flirting with a single woman."

Social animals produce a wide range of communal displays, many of them remarkable feats of complex coordination, the researchers said. One example is the duets sung by pairs of Peruvian warbling antbirds. So far, scientists have disagreed about how temporal coordination between displaying individuals evolved, some seeing it as a cooperative signal of coalition quality, others as a selfish means to avoid signal overlap.

According to the research team, the new study provides the first evidence that the avoidance of signal overlap is sufficient to explain the coordination and complexity of communal signals.

In a series of playback experiments, the team found that resident pairs of antbirds sing coordinated duets when responding to rival pairs. But under other circumstances, cooperation breaks down, leading to more complex songs. Specifically, they report that females respond to unpaired sexual rivals by jamming the signals of their own mates, who in turn adjust their signals to avoid the interference.

Tobias said the females' attempts to jam their partners' songs are presumably intended to make the males less attractive, or to make it clear that they are "taken." He added that the results in antbirds may have broad implications for understanding how communal signals have developed over evolutionary time in many animals, and perhaps even in humans.

First, Tobias said, the findings reveal that group signals such as duets and choruses represent a subtle blend of cooperation and conflict. The balance between those two forces depends on the context. Their study also suggests that if there is some conflict in the system, then multiple singers can combine to produce rhythmic, precisely coordinated, and increasingly complex songs simply by avoiding overlap.

"Most evidence points to vocalizations in early humans having a function in both mate attraction and resource defense, so it seems plausible that 'signal jamming' and especially 'jamming avoidance' played a role in our evolutionary history. If so, our results may help to explain the first steps towards complex, coordinated group signals in humans, which themselves are the likely forerunners to modern music."


'/>"/>

Contact: Cathleen Genova
cgenova@cell.com
617-397-2802
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Reproductive life of male mice is increased by living with females
2. The more promiscuous the female, the speedier the sperm
3. Study first to pinpoint why analgesic drugs may be less potent in females than in males
4. Female embryonic sexual development driven by universal factor
5. Female plant communicates rejection or acceptance of male
6. When it comes to female red squirrels, it seems any male will do
7. Leiden scientists sequence first female DNA
8. Female concave-eared frogs draw mates with ultrasonic calls
9. Female katydids prefer mates cool in winter and hot in summer
10. How do you know whether you are male or female?
11. Men unaware of their cancer risk when female relatives test positive for BRCA mutation
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/9/2016)... , June 9, 2016 ... deploy Teleste,s video security solution to ensure the safety of ... during the major tournament Teleste, an ... systems and services, announced today that its video security solution ... to back up public safety across the country. The ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... Das DOTM (Department ... hat ein 44 Millionen $-Projekt ... einschließlich Personalisierung, Registrierung und IT-Infrastruktur, an Decatur ... Implementierung von Identitätsmanagementlösungen. Zahlreiche renommierte internationale Anbieter ... aber Decatur wurde als konformste und innovativste ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2016   The Weather Company , an IBM Business ... industry-first capability in which consumers will be able to interact ... questions via voice or text and receive relevant information about ... Marketers have long sought an advertising solution that can ... personal, relevant and valuable; and can scale across millions of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a ... eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research ... by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has ... Association to serve as their official health care ... Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, ... coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. "We ... Association and to bring Houston Methodist quality services ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... the launch of the Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, Calif., ... the future of how hardware projects are designed, built and brought to market. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... LONDON , June 23, 2016 ... & Hematology Review, 2016;12(1):22-8 http://doi.org/10.17925/OHR.2016.12.01.22 ... Review , the peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, ... the escalating cost of cancer care is placing ... a result of expensive biologic therapies. With the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: