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Selection for contrasting adrenocortical responsiveness in Japanese quail ( Coturnix japonica ) influences sexual behaviour in males

By R. H. Marin, D. G. Satterlee

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Selection of Japanese quail for a reduced (low stress, LS) rather than exaggerated (high stress, HS) adrenocortical response to brief restraint is associated with a non-specific reduction in stress responsiveness, decreased fearfulness, greater sociality, and enhanced male reproductive function, e.g. greater cloacal gland size, foam production, and testes weight. Because sexual behaviour has components that may be affected by all of these traits, the copulatory behaviour of male LS and HS adults was compared herein. In experiment 1, males from each line were individually tested in a runway (novel environment) in two consecutive steps. First, the approach (social proximity) of a test male (LS or HS) to a compartment containing two females (one LS+one HS) that he could see but not reach was examined. Second, after allowing the test male and both females to mingle, the male's latency to first grab and the numbers of grabs, mounts and cloacal contacts were recorded. A tendency for LS males to spend a longer (P=0.08) amount of time near the females before the sexes were mingled was observed. When the birds were allowed contact, LS males showed a significantly higher (P<0.04) number of cloacal contacts and greater (P<0.04) copulatory efficiency (number of cloacal contacts/number of grabs) than HS males. No line differences were observed in the latency to the first grab, grabs, and mounts. In experiment 2, individually-caged males from each line were observed when one female (LS or HS) was introduced into their home cages as a sexual partner. The LS males showed a lower latency to the first grab and greater cloacal contacts and copulatory efficiency than HS quail (all P<0.03). The present findings suggest that quail selection for reduced adrenocortical stress responsiveness prior to the attainment of puberty has a positive impact on adult sexual behaviour of males.

Date 2003
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 83
Issue 3
Pages 187-199
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/S0168-1591(03)00129-1
Language English
Author Address Applied Animal Biotechnology Laboratories, Department of Animal Sciences, Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal physiology
  3. Animal reproduction
  4. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  5. Birds
  6. Coitus
  7. Copulation
  8. Hormones
  9. Mating behavior
  10. peer-reviewed
  11. Poultry
  12. Sexual behavior
  13. sexuality
  14. Sexual practices
  15. Stress
  16. Stress response
  1. peer-reviewed