Male Songbird Indicates Body Size with Low-Pitched Advertising Songs

Hall, Michelle L.; Kingma, Sjouke A.; Peters, Anne
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Body size is a key sexually selected trait in many animal species. If size imposes a physical limit on the production of loud low-frequency sounds, then low-pitched vocalisations could act as reliable signals of body size. However, the central prediction of this hypothesis – that the pitch of vocalisations decreases with size among competing individuals – has limited support in songbirds. One reason could be that only the lowest-frequency components of vocalisations are constrained, and this may go unnoticed when vocal ranges are large. Additionally, the constraint may only be apparent in contexts when individuals are indeed advertising their size. Here we explicitly consider signal diversity and performance limits to demonstrate that body size limits song frequency in an advertising context in a songbird. We show that in purple-crowned fairy-wrens, Malurus coronatus coronatus, larger males sing lower-pitched low-frequency advertising songs. The lower frequency bound of all advertising song types also has a significant negative relationship with body size. However, the average frequency of all their advertising songs is unrelated to body size. This comparison of different approaches to the analysis demonstrates how a negative relationship between body size and song frequency can be obscured by failing to consider signal design and the concept of performance limits. Since these considerations will be important in any complex communication system, our results imply that body size constraints on low-frequency vocalisations could be more widespread than is currently recognised.


Related Articles

  • Female-female competition is influenced by forehead patch expression in pied flycatcher females. Morales, J.; Gordo, O.; Lobato, E.; Ippi, S.; Martínez-de la Puente, J.; Tomás, G.; Merino, S.; Moreno, J. // Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology;Jul2014, Vol. 68 Issue 7, p1195 

    There is increasing evidence that sexual selection operates in females and not only in males. However, the function of female signals in intrasexual competition has been little studied in species with conventional sex roles. In the Iberian populations of the pied flycatcher ( Ficedula...

  • Territory Tenure Increases with Repertoire Size in Brownish-Flanked Bush Warbler. Xia, Canwei; Wei, Chentao; Zhang, Yanyun // PLoS ONE;Mar2015, Vol. 10 Issue 3, p1 

    Song repertoire size is often cited as a classic example of a secondary sexual trait in birds. Models of sexual selection and empirical tests of their predictions have often related secondary sexual traits to longevity. However, the relationship between repertoire size and longevity is unclear....

  • Captive Rearing Experiments Confirm Song Development without Learning in a Tracheophone Suboscine Bird. Touchton, Janeene M.; Seddon, Nathalie; Tobias, Joseph A. // PLoS ONE;Apr2014, Vol. 9 Issue 4, p1 

    The origin of vocal learning in animals has long been the subject of debate, but progress has been limited by uncertainty regarding the distribution of learning mechanisms across the tree of life, even for model systems such as birdsong. In particular, the importance of learning is well known in...

  • REVIEWS AND COMMENT FROM NATURE JOURNALS.  // Nature Reviews Neuroscience;Dec2000, Vol. 1 Issue 3, p221 

    Lists several research articles and commentaries published in the December 2000 issue of the journal "Nature Reviews Neuroscience." "How to Form a Vesicle," by T. Kirchhausen; "Intramembranous Proteolysis by Presenilins," by H. Steiner and C. Haass; "Paxilin and Focal Adhesion Signalling," by...

  • Identification and characterization of novel nicotinic receptor-associated proteins in Caenorhabditis elegans. Gottschalk, Alexander; Almedom, Ruta B.; Schedletzky, Thorsten; Anderson, Scott D.; Yates III, John R.; Schafer, William R. // EMBO Journal;7/20/2005, Vol. 24 Issue 14, p2566 

    Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) mediate fast excitatory neurotransmission in neurons and muscles. To identify nAChR accessory proteins, which may regulate their expression or function, we performed tandem affinity purification of the levamisole-sensitive nAChR from Caenorhabditis...

  • How Neuroscience Relates to Hearing Aid Amplification. Tremblay, K. L.; Miller, C. W. // International Journal of Otolaryngology;2014, p1 

    Hearing aids are used to improve sound audibility for people with hearing loss, but the ability to make use of the amplified signal, especially in the presence of competing noise, can vary across people. Here we review how neuroscientists, clinicians, and engineers are using various types of...

  • Cross interaction of melanocortinergic and dopaminergic systems in neural modulation. Zhi-Gang He; Bao-Wen Liu; Hong-Bing Xiang // International Journal of Physiology, Pathophysiology & Pharmacol;2015, Vol. 7 Issue 3, p152 

    Melanocortinergic and dopaminergic systems are widely distributed in the CNS and have been established as a crucial regulatory component in diverse physiological functions. The pharmacology of both melanocortinergic and dopaminergic systems including their individual receptors, signaling...

  • Independently Outgrowing Neurons and Geometry-Based Synapse Formation Produce Networks with Realistic Synaptic Connectivity. van Ooyen, Arjen; Carnell, Andrew; de Ridder, Sander; Tarigan, Bernadetta; Mansvelder, Huibert D.; Bijma, Fetsje; de Gunst, Mathisca; van Pelt, Jaap // PLoS ONE;Jan2014, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p1 

    Neuronal signal integration and information processing in cortical networks critically depend on the organization of synaptic connectivity. During development, neurons can form synaptic connections when their axonal and dendritic arborizations come within close proximity of each other. Although...

  • A Unified Comparison of Stimulus-Driven, Endogenous Mandatory and ‘Free Choice’ Saccades. Gorea, Andrei; Rider, Delphine; Yang, Qing // PLoS ONE;Feb2014, Vol. 9 Issue 2, p1 

    It has been claimed that saccades arising from the three saccade triggering modes–stimulus-driven, endogenous mandatory and ‘free choice’–are driven by distinct mechanisms. We tested this claim by instructing observers to saccade from a white or black fixation disc to...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics