TitleConsistency of Male Courtship Behavior in a Plethodontid Salamander
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsHouck, L, Vaccaro, EA, Kiemnec-Tyburczy, KM
JournalJournal of Herpetology
Type of ArticleJournal Article

Flexibility can be important in male female behavioral interactions, particularly during courtship when a male typically adjusts his behavior in response to the female. Red-legged Salamanders (Plethodon shermani) have highly stereotyped courtship behaviors but show flexibility in the repetition of particular behaviors. We tested one measure of flexibility in a specific male courtship behavior pheromone delivery. We compared the number of male pheromone delivery attempts that occurred when a male "slapped" his pheromone-producing mental gland on the female's flares. We compiled a multiyear data set from earlier experiments on salamander behavior to test the consistency in the number of slaps each male delivered in two different courtships. The consistency level was 26% (26% of the total deviance in slapping behavior could be explained by previous slapping behavior), a value within the range of measures for other vertebrate behavioral traits. We interpret this consistency as a possible advantage to the male in delivering sufficient pheromone such that the female will not abandon the male during the critical process of sperm transfer.

URL<Go to ISI>://WOS:000285855100018