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In birds, expecting to mate leads to higher fertilization rates
Date:10/4/2007

male and the other male was in a chamber where he did not expect a female. Using genetic markers, the researchers then collected the eggs of the female quail and tested the paternity.

The results, which appear in the September issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, are clear: The males who were placed in the context that led them to anticipate access to a female just before copulation fertilized seventy-two percent of the eggs laid by the female quail. In other words, the quail who knew they were going to have the opportunity to mate produced more offspring. This is a significant finding because typically when two males mate in quick succession with the same female, no differences in paternity are found, which Matthews confirmed in a follow-up experiment.

The researchers point out that the conditioning most likely had an effect on the rate of sperm release without changing sperm quality or concentration. Learning and individual experience can bias genetic transmission and the evolutionary changes that result from sexual competition, write the authors.


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Contact: Catherine West
cwest@psychologicalscience.org
202-783-2077
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

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