Attracting a mate can be a costly endeavor, according to a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill scientist, but new experiments he helped lead show that some male animals economize on courting when the chance of success seems low.
Dr. Keith W. Sockman, assistant professor of biology in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, studies mating behavior in songbirds and the songs that play such a central role in their reproduction. "From people to praying mantises, individuals invest everything from their homes to their heads to attract a member of the opposite sex," Sockman said. "When male songbirds sing to attract a mate, they expend energy during times they could otherwise be foraging for seeds and grubs.
"They may also increase their exposure to predators," the biologist said. "This led us to predict that when females are in short supply or infertile, unmated males should reduce these ’costs’ by singing less."
David Williamson | EurekAlert!
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