Sex role similarity and sexual selection predict male and female song elaboration and dimorphism in fairy-wrens

Karan J. Odom, Kristal E. Cain, Michelle L. Hall, Naomi E. Langmore, Raoul A. Mulder, Sonia Kleindorfer, Jordan Karubian, Lyanne Brouwer , Erik D. Enbody, John Anthony Jones, Jenélle L. Dowling, Ana V. Leitao, Emma I. Greig, Christine Evans, Allison E. Johnson, Kimberley K.-A. Meyers, Marcelo Araya-Salas, Michael S. Webster

Historically, bird song complexity was thought to evolve primarily through sexual selection on males; yet, in many species, both sexes sing and selection pressure on both sexes may be broader. Previous research suggests competition for mates and resources during short, synchronous breeding seasons leads to more elaborate male songs at high, temperate latitudes. Furthermore, we expect male–female song structure and elaboration to be more similar at lower, tropical latitudes, where longer breeding seasons and year-round territoriality yield similar social selection pressures in both sexes. However, studies seldom take both types of selective pressures and sexes into account. We examined song in both sexes in 15 populations of nine-fairy-wren species (Maluridae), a Southern Hemisphere clade with female song. We compared song elaboration (in both sexes) and sexual song dimorphism to latitude and life-history variables tied to sexual and social selection pressures and sex roles. Our results suggest that song elaboration evolved in part due to sexual competition in males: male songs were longer than female songs in populations with low male survival and less male provisioning. Also, female songs evolved independently of male songs: female songs were slower paced than male songs, although only in less synchronously breeding populations. We also found male and female songs were more similar when parental care was more equal and when male survival was high, which provides strong evidence that sex role similarity correlates with male–female song similarity. Contrary to Northern Hemisphere latitudinal patterns, male and female songs were more similar at higher, temperate latitudes. These results suggest that selection on song can be sex specific, with male song elaboration favored in contexts with stronger sexual selection. At the same time, selection pressures associated with sex role similarity appear to favor sex role similarity in song structure.

Department für Verhaltens- und Kognitionsbiologie, Core Facility KLF für Verhaltens- und Kognitionsbiologie
Externe Organisation(en)
Cornell University, Australian National University, University of Melbourne, Tulane University, University of Maryland, College Park, University of Auckland, University of Western Australia, Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie, Bush Heritage Australia, Flinders University, Uppsala University, University of Montana, Missoula, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Universidad de Costa Rica, Radboud University, Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW)
Ecology and Evolution
ÖFOS 2012
106051 Verhaltensbiologie
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