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      Multimodal communication in courting fiddler crabs reveals male performance capacities

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          Abstract

          Courting males often perform different behavioural displays that demonstrate aspects of their quality. Male fiddler crabs, Uca sp., are well known for their repetitive claw-waving display during courtship. However, in some species, males produce an additional signal by rapidly stridulating their claw, creating a ‘drumming’ vibrational signal through the substrate as a female approaches, and even continue to drum once inside their burrow. Here, we show that the switch from waving to drumming might provide additional information to the female about the quality of a male, and the properties of his burrow (multiple message hypothesis). Across males there was, however, a strong positive relationship between aspects of their waving and drumming displays, suggesting that drumming adheres to some predictions of the redundant signal hypothesis for multimodal signalling. In field experiments, we show that recent courtship is associated with a significant reduction in male sprint speed, which is commensurate with an oxygen debt. Even so, males that wave and drum more vigorously than their counterparts have a higher sprint speed. Drumming appears to be an energetically costly multimodal display of quality that females should attend to when making their mate choice decisions.

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          Most cited references 43

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          Variable female preferences drive complex male displays.

          Complexity in male sexual displays is widely appreciated but diversity in female mate choice has received little attention. Males of many species have sexual displays composed of multiple display traits, and females are thought to use these different traits in mate choice. Models of multiple display trait evolution suggest that these traits provide females with different kinds of information in different stages of the mate choice process, or function as redundant signals to improve the accuracy of mate assessment. We suggest that complex male displays might also arise because of variation in female preferences for particular male display traits. The causes of female preference variation have received little attention, and the role of preference variation in shaping complex male displays is unclear. Here we show that in satin bowerbirds (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) female mate choice is a multistage process, where females of different ages use different male display traits in successive stages. Age- and stage-specific female preferences may contribute to explaining the widespread occurrence of multifaceted male displays.
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            Why do animals repeat displays?

            Both agonistic and sexual animal displays often involve more than one performance of some specific display action. Since repetition is energetically costly there must be good reasons why a signaller should carry out such repetitive actions, rather than simply displaying once. We briefly review three different 'reasons' which arise from three different receiver assessment rules: when assessment is based on the average magnitude of all display actions so far, the reason for the repetition is to improve the accuracy of the estimate (model A); when the assessment is based solely on the action of greatest magnitude so far, the repetition is to replace the signal with one of greater magnitude (model B); when the assessment is based on the cumulative sum of all display actions so far, the repetition is to augment that sum (model C). We discuss how to characterize each case from an understanding of its expected optimal behaviour as predicted by formal models. For model A the mean magnitude of display actions should stay constant and the contest duration should depend on relative qualities. In models B and C the encounter duration depends only on the weaker participant. In model B each display action is greater than the previous, but only a small number of steps are expected. In model C the magnitude of display actions can either escalate, stay constant, or even decrease. The displays of cichlid fish, the roaring contests of red deer, Cervus elaphusthe calling of Blanchard's cricket frogs, Acris crepitans blanchardiand the pheromonal exchanges of yeast gametes are used as illustrative examples.
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              Locomotor performance and social dominance in male Anolis cristatellus

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                R Soc Open Sci
                R Soc Open Sci
                RSOS
                royopensci
                Royal Society Open Science
                The Royal Society Publishing
                2054-5703
                March 2017
                15 March 2017
                15 March 2017
                : 4
                : 3
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Animal and Environment Research Group, Faculty of Science and Technology, Anglia Ruskin University , East Road, Cambridge CB1 1PT, UK
                [2 ]Evolution, Ecology and Genetics, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University , Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
                Author notes
                Author for correspondence: Sophie L. Mowles e-mail: sophie.mowles@ 123456anglia.ac.uk

                Electronic supplementary material is available online at https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3703657.

                Article
                rsos161093
                10.1098/rsos.161093
                5383853
                © 2017 The Authors.

                Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Product
                Funding
                Funded by: Australian Research Council, http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100000923;
                Award ID: DP120101427
                Categories
                1001
                14
                60
                Biology (Whole Organism)
                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                March, 2017

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