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Turtle doves commit adultery
Date:10/15/2008

to fights. The male does this to defend his territory; a male dove cannot reproduce unless he has his own territory. However, a male dove can only chase off intruders from his territory if the intruders can 'understand' his coo and recognise the threatening message. Vice versa, the male dove must also be able to recognise the intruders' coos to understand that they are possible rivals. A strange coo can therefore hinder a successful sex life.

As soon as the male doves in the study recognised a coo and noticed the loudspeakers, they started an attack. They recognised the coo as being the coo of a rival.

Hybrids are not choosy

Den Hartog found that the response of the hybrid males to the coos of the hybrid doves was the same as their response to the ring-necked and vinaceous doves. In the populations of ring-necked doves, the males reacted the most to the ring-necked coos, then to the hybrid coo and the least to the coo of the vinaceous dove. The responses of the vinaceous doves were similar. In the area occupied by the hybrid doves, the hybrid coo is just as effective as the coos of both parental species. In addition, the coos of the hybrid males can sound unique but also sound like the coo of one of the parental species. In the latter case it may be possible for them also to hold their own within a population of that parental species.

Den Hartog suspects that it is possible for the hybrid species to continue to survive and multiply. They can do this because the hybrid coos seem to work well in obtaining a territory. There is also quite a lot of variation in the hybrid coos. It would therefore appear that hybrid animals are not always weaker than their parental species.

Hens are more choosy

The role of female doves, or hens, is just as important. Their job is to select the most suitable male. The hens do not always stick to their own species. They can even have a preference for 'strange' males. And doves are
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Contact: Paula den Hartog
p.m.den.hartog@biology.leidenuniv.nl
31-715-275-018
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
Source:Eurekalert

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