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Article - pre-print

Publication Date



The role of photoperiod in avian reproductive timing has been well studied, and we are increasingly recognizing the roles of other environmental cues such as social cues. However, few studies have evaluated the extent to which males and females of the same species respond similarly to the same type of cue. Moreover, previous studies have rarely examined how variation in the quality or nature of a given social cue might modulate its effect. Here, we examine the sensitivity of male and female pine siskins (Spinus pinus) to a potential mate as a stimulatory cue for gonadal recrudescence, and we investigate whether variation in the relationship between a bird and its potential mate modulates the effect of that potential mate. Birds were initially housed without opposite sex birds on a 12L:12D photoperiod with ad libitum food. After gonadal recrudescence had begun males and females were randomly paired with an opposite sex bird or housed alone. An additional group of males was paired with estradiol-implanted females. In males, these social treatments had no effect on testis length, cloacal protuberance length, luteinizing hormone (LH) levels, or testosterone levels. In females, presence of a potential mate had a significant and positive effect on ovary score, defeathering of the brood patch, and LH levels. Among paired birds, the degree of affiliation within a pair corresponded to the extent of reproductive development in females, but not males. Thus, reproductive timing in females appears to be sensitive to both the presence of a potential mate and her relationship with him.

Publisher Statement

This is an author-manuscript of an article accepted for publication in Hormones and Behavior. The published version of this record is available online at doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2016.01.006.

Recommended Citation

Watts HE, Edley B, Hahn TP. A potential mate influences reproductive development in female, but not male, pine siskins. Hormones and behavior. 2016;80:39-46. doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2016.01.006.

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